Stanford rowers help win gold at U23 World Championships


Stanford rowers were part of the gold medal winners in both the men's eight and women's eight at the U23 World Rowing Championships in Poznan, Poland on Sunday. Cardinal rowers were also part of the third and fourth place finishers in women's eight and the fourth-place finish in women's four.

Stanford senior Brennan Wertz served as the bow on the United States' gold medal men's eight boat. The Americans took the lead near the 500 meter mark and then worked to pull away the rest of the race. The boat won in 5:22.480. Great Britain placed second with a time of 5:24.930.

Brennan Wertz/Stanford Athletics

Stephanie Grauer/Stanford Athletics
"It was really fantastic conditions at the start," said U.S. coxswain Rielly Milne, one of six rowers from Washington. "We were maybe two seats down for a while until we started to get a rhythm going and then we started taking the momentum. We did our most work (in the second 500). By the third and last 500, the water started getting choppy, and it was hard to pick up that momentum again, so we really just had to ride it out."

Stanford senior Stephanie Grauer was in seat five for Canada, which won the gold medal by nearly two seconds over the Netherlands, 6:04.610 to 6:06.580.

The American women's eight was led by coxswain Leigh Warner, a recent Stanford grad. Cardinal grad Alison Rusher and Stanford sophomore Kaitlyn Kynast held off a hard-charging British crew, which featured Cardinal junior Meg Saunders, to win the bronze medal.

The. U.S. took the early lead and was still ahead past the midway point of the race. The Canadian crew was already gaining on the Americans and held a healthy advantage into the final 500 meters.

The Netherlands rowed passed the Americans and a late move by Great Britain wasn't enough, as the U.S. held on for bronze.

"We knew we had to get out early, because in a tailwind, you want to get out and stay out," Warner said. "Hats off to everybody else for a great second half of the race. I thought we did our first 1,000 really gutsy. We did the best we could, and I'm really proud of our crew."

The U.S. finished in a 6:08.04, 0.19 seconds ahead of Great Britain.

"It's never going to be easy at the world level," said Warner, an Olympian. "Our coach told us that at the world level, one inch is a blessing. It's not like collegiate (rowing) where it can be a half-boat length. We knew we had to be ready to have it be that tight, so bronze is amazing. That was an epic sprint that GB put down."

Stanford junior Chase Shepley helped the United States women's four boat finish fourth in the B final.

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