RowAmerica Rye Wins 10 Medals, Dominates Youth National Championships

RowAmerica Rye captured 10 medals at the U.S. Rowing ’s Youth Championships.

Published June 28, 2024 9:14 AM
3 min read


RowAmerica Rye capped a sizzling spring season of high school-level rowing by capturing 10 medals at the U.S. Rowing Association’s 2024 Youth National Championships in Sarasota, Fla. Among the “hardware” the club brought home from the June 6-9 competition: five gold medals for its eight-oar boats, as Rye dominated both the men’s and women’s crews in that category.

The club won the women’s youth 8+ final by 1.58 seconds over Newport Aquatic Center of California, as its top varsity boat took the early lead and held it the rest of the way. It was the first win at Nationals for RowAmerica Rye’s lead varsity girls 8+ boat (eight rowers plus a coxswain); the club also took first and second in this year’s final for women’s youth 2V (“2nd varsity”) 8+ boats.

As a result of their first-place finish in Sarasota, Rye’s No. 1 varsity girls 8+ boat has been invited to race in the Henley Royal Regatta at Henley on Thames in England from July 2-7. Henley is the world’s most prestigious regatta – and one of the most competitive.

Rye’s varsity boys rowing team successfully defended its 2023 championship title at Nationals in Sarasota in the men’s youth 8+ final, besting St. Joseph’s Preparatory School of Philadelphia by 1.81 seconds in a neck-and-neck race. The boys team, coached by Aleksandar Radovic, also placed second in the men’s youth 2V 8+ championship final.

“This year’s success came through months and, for some, years of hard work that these young athletes have put in,” said Marko Serafimovski, the Rye club’s girls coach and director of rowing — and, as of last year, owner of the rowing club. “It was beautiful to see that all the hard work has paid off but, most importantly, it is beautiful to see how this sport and the journey these young athletes go through positively impacts their lives and gets them ready for greater challenges down the road. This is the true success.”

This was RowAmerica Rye’s best performance at Nationals since the club’s formation in 2013. In addition to the medals in the boys and girls eight-oar categories, other rowers among its 19 race entries won a total of three silver and two bronze medals in Sarasota.

“Starting with just 10 rowers in 2013, our core group of four coaches were instrumental in developing the system and structure, implementing the culture, and creating standards,” Serafimovski said, “as well as raising those standards as the club’s performance grew.

“We also tend to put a lot of value on the efficiency of a rowing stroke and make athletes understand how a technical change can positively impact the speed of the boat,” the coach and club owner added. “Once there is an understanding, the sky is the limit for them.”

More than 220 rowing clubs entered 853 boats in this year’s youth rowing championships at the Olympic-grade rowing course in Sarasota’s Nathan Benderson Park, making it the largest regatta in the competition’s history.

The championship eight plus coxswain women’s youth crew are, from left to right: Sienna Knight, Grace Regan (Rye), Alexandra Ausfahl (Rye), Fiona Asgeirsson (Rye), cox Clementine Riegelhaupt (Rye), Evie Gassman, Gabby Opdyke, Maeve Sisk, and Claire van Praagh.
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