BY MELANIE CANE
RowAmerica Rye’s stellar performance at the New York State Rowing Championships in Saratoga on May 22 and 23 earned them for 19 crews, more than they had ever qualified before, in the US Rowing Youth Nationals event. These crews, nearly 100-strong, competed at Nationals in Sarasota, Florida June 10-13 where they earned eight medals and made the A finals in three other events.
The Women’s Straight Four won a gold medal. In the same event, the other RAR boat placed third. Co-head Women’s Coach Filip Topalovic said, “Both fours trained hard and had a clear goal for youth nationals. The competition between the two fours made both boats fast enough to make a podium at the most competitive regatta in the country. The rowers are mostly juniors and sophomores. With this success, they will be very motivated in seasons to come.” The Women’s U17 Double and Coxed Four boats won bronze medals.
The most competitive event at Youth Nationals is the Women’s Eight. Vying against over 40 crews, RAR won a silver medal with senior captains Katherine Iuliano and Kate McDermott at the helm. Iuliano was thrilled with her crew’s performance. “I am so glad I was able to end a successful season in a boat with some of my best friends. We are all so thankful that we were able to compete on the water this past spring instead of spending another season indoors.”
McDermott, who will be joining Iuliano at UC Berkeley this fall, expressed similar sentiments. “Nationals was an extremely difficult, yet very rewarding experience. We were confident we were capable of doing well but racing at such a high level is something we hadn’t been able to do in a long time. This race was one that I, and many of my teammates, had looked forward to for years, and we’re thankful we were able to have such an awesome experience.”
Head Men’s Coach Aleksander Radovic led their boats to three medals. The Straight Four took a bronze medal, the U17 Eight also won a bronze, and the U17 Four won a silver medal. The Coxed Four placed fifth in a field of over 50 boats, the most of any category. Radovic said, “The Men’s U17 team had a very strong performance with all four RowAmericaRye boats placing within the top eight in the country. Though our top boats were disappointed to leave Nationals without a medal this year, their hard work paid off with top medals at both NY States and Northeast Regionals.”
Club Director and Women’s Coach Marko Serafimovski summed it up like this. “After such a difficult year, it was great to see our rowers and coxswains able to compete at this level. The championship was the largest so far with over 2,500 of the fastest athletes from more than 180 clubs compete across the country. Our kids did a phenomenal job.”