PLOVDIV, BULGARIA- A trio of Penn lightweights helped lead the USA lightweight men's four to the finals and a sixth-place finish at the U-23 World Rowing Championships in Bulgaria last week. It was just the third time the U.S. made the A Final since 2000.
Junior Sam Wardheld the three seat, while classmate Jake Ford was slotted in the two seat. Colin Farrell,who just completed his first season at the helm of the Quakers, served as a coach for the national team for the sixth straight year.
“I thought the 4- did a nice job in Bulgaria and overall had a solid regatta," Farrell said of the performance. "When you get to the upper levels of rowing, so much of the sport is being able to call up your best performances when needed. These guys did that in the Rep and rowed down Spain (last year’s champs) and Denmark to get into the A Final.
"For Jake and Sam, I think the opportunity to see the next level of rowing was a big eye-opener," Farrell continued. "For them to hang in there and row with the world's best U23s should be a big confidence boost for them. So much is learned by putting yourself on the line and racing. It was a testament to these guys' attitudes that they wanted to take on this challenge this summer. Now it’s up to them to bring everything back to Philly!”
In their heat on July 23, the Americans were third behind Italy and Great Britain with a time of 6:35.630. That moved them into the repechage the following day, where the USA crew finished as runner-up (6:10.330) and earned a spot in the finals.
The last time the USA made the A Final was in 2013. The Red, White and Blue also reached the final in 2010 and finished fifth in 2000.In the race for a medal on Sunday, the Quakers were sixth in a time of 6:09.550. Italy took gold at 5:57.360, Germany earned silver at 6:00.580 and Great Britain captured the bronze at 6:02.520.
This trio will reunite with the rest of the Quakers when students return to University City in August. The first Fall race is set for Oct. 10 on the Schuylkill River.