Incoming Stanford freshman Ruth Narode helped the United States under 23 women's eight take the first step in defending its title at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Linz, Austria on Thursday.
With five new rowers in the lineup, the crew clocked the fastest time in the event and won its heat by more than five seconds.
Narode, who occupies the bow seat, was joined by standout collegiate rowers from Wisconsin, Virginia, Washington, Purdue, Harvard, Brown and Notre Dame. The Americans raced against Germany and Canada, and gained nearly two seconds on the field in the first 500 meters.
Narode was joined by coxswain Kendall Schmidt, Kristine O'Brien, Madison Culp, Amanda Elmore, Courtney Diekema, Corinne Schoeller, Erin Boxberger and Anne Rauschert.
The crew maintained its lead over the 2,000-meter course to cross first with the fastest time of the field, 6:15.79.
Stanford senior Wil Robins and his lightweight men's pair partner Jordan Volpe of George Washington finished sixth in Thursday's repechage and will compete in the C Final.