The members of RowAmerica Rye’s gold medal boat, from left: Ella Sheth, Mia Padovano, Elena Chesley, Alexandra Ausfahl, Fiona Asgiersson, Evelyn Gassman, Ellie Konvisser, Grace Peacock, and Grace Regan.
By Mitch Silver
Rowing your way to the US Rowing Youth National Championships is no easy feat, but by competing in and excelling in regattas all spring and finishing in the top two at the New York State Championships, several RowAmerica Rye teams easily qualified for Nationals, which were held June 9-12 in Sarasota, Florida.
In the Women’s U-17 time trials for eight-oared shells with coxswain held the first day, Rye’s boat finished first among 25 entries, more than nine seconds faster than second-place Cincinnati Juniors.
In the semifinal, Rye’s 15- and 16-year-olds jumped out to an early lead at the 500-meter mark. They would go on to win once again by nine seconds, the only crew to finish the 2000 meters in under seven minutes.
Sunday’s final was pretty much a repeat of Thursday’s time trials. RowAmerica Rye jumped out to an early two-second lead over the Saugatuck Rowing Club. They doubled that lead over the next 500 meters, and were the only boat under five minutes at the 1,500 mark. The team, coached by Club Director Marko Serafimovski, coasted to victory by more than 6.5 seconds.
Afterwards, an exultant Coach Serafimovski said, “RowAmerica Rye was one of the largest teams competing at US Rowing Youth Nationals. We had another couple of crews in the finals — the Men’s 4- and Women’s second varsity 8+. We also had a couple of boats in B finals (7-12) and a pair in C finals (13-18).
“Youth Nationals serves as a regatta/competition that our team trains for the whole year. The sport itself demands a tremendous amount of hard work, discipline, commitment, teamwork, and patience.”
He added, “We are very proud of what our team has accomplished over the year and are looking forward to the year ahead.”