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Australians take two silvers and a bronze at 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships

Australia concluded its 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships today (Sunday) in Račice, Czech Republic with two silver medals and one bronze. Australia’s Junior Women’s Coxed Four and Junior Men’s Single Scull both claimed silver, while the Junior Men’s Coxed Four won bronze. The Junior Women’s Four, who were also in an A-Final today, finished fifth.

Deputy Performance Director, Jaime Fernandez said, “Congratulations to all of the Australian crews and coaches who competed at the Junior Worlds, many for the first time. There were some very hotly contested races and to see three of the crews achieve a podium finish is great reward for all of their efforts.

“This of course would not be possible without the support of a broader team including RA, support staff, the network of schools, clubs, State Institutes and Academies who are the Rowing Pathway in Australia and most critically the support which comes from family and friends.”

2017 World Junior Champion in the Men’s Double Scull, Cormac Kennedy-Leverett wrapped up his final year in junior competition with a silver medal in the Junior Men’s Single Scull. Leading at the start, the Queenslander was going face some stiff competition in his final from the reigning World Champion, USA’s Clark Dean.

Cormac Kennedy-Leverett claimed silver in the JM1x (Copyright RA)

The Australian was being chased down by Germany, Belgium and USA as they crossed the 500m mark. As Kennedy-Leverett made his move to break away, the American went with him with the two leading the field. Rating a high 36, Dean moved away from Kennedy-Leverett as Tristan Vandenbussche of Belgium worked his way up to challenge the Australian. However, it wasn’t to be, with Kennedy-Leverett holding off his challenge to take silver, while Dean picked up back to back gold medals.

The Griffith University Surfers Paradise rower said, “Today was a really nice race on a phenomenal course! I had to change my race plan slightly due to the different conditions, as there was no tailwind today.

“I tried hard to keep close to Clark around the 750 metre mark, but it wasn’t to be today. This is my last year as a junior so I’ll try and aim for the Under 23 Australian Rowing Team next year.”

The Junior Women’s Coxed Four did not have a simple lead up into their World Rowing Junior Championships campaign, with Rachel Balcomb being replaced during the lead up, due to injury, by Laura Chancellor. However, the crew did not let the changes faze them and today walked away with a silver medal in Račice.

The Australians were fast out the start, and by the halfway point, Hannah Cowap had the crew pushing on race leaders Ukraine, alongside Italy and the USA. As the crews passed approached the 1500 metre marker, it was Italy who had surged ahead, followed by Australia, with USA in third as the Ukrainians dropped back in the field.

The JW4+ on the medal dias (Copyright RA)

With the finish line approaching, Italy started their finishing sprint, with Ella Mentzines, Chancellor, Lauren Graham, Isabelle Furrer and Cowap now charging with the USA hot on their heels. With one final push, the crews crossed the line, Italy with the gold, Australia the silver and the USA the bronze.

Post-race, Sydney Rowing Club’s Isabelle Furrer said, “This was the best race of my life! We executed the plan perfectly and it’s been amazing here at the World Championships in Račice.”

Following the Women’s Coxed Four, came their male counterparts, Ben Gerrard, Logan Ullrich, Hamish Henriques, Miller Rowe and coxswain Isaac Schmidt. The Queensland/West Australian combination were in second at the halfway mark, chasing down the leading USA, with Italy also in hot pursuit.

Coming through the final sprint, Italy was in a second of the US crew with Schmidt pushing the Australians also to take a medal. Italy inched its way up on the USA and moved to 41 strokes per minute, with the USA holding 38 and Rowe holding the Australians at 37, and with that the crews crossed the line, and bronze was the Australians for the taking.

Logan Ullrich, from KAND Rowing Club in Queensland, said after receiving his medal, “That was an unreal race, really insane! We had a well executed plan today and it’s a great step up being at the Junior World Championships.

“It really feels fantastic to represent Australia and I’m so happy to be here.”

The JM4+ with their silver medal (Copyright RA)

The Junior Women’s Four of Phoebe Robinson, Hilary Ballinger, Jessica Scott and Leukie Smith were in second place at the 500 metre marker of their A-Final. However, a big push from Italy and the USA saw the Australians drop down to fifth as they chased the pack in the Czech Republic. The Queenlanders crossed the line in fifth, with USA taking the gold medal.

In the Junior Women’s Single Scull, B-Final, Taylor McCarthy Smith finished in first place, meaning the single sculler concludes her World Championships campaign ranked seventh in the world. McCarthy-Smith and Kennedy-Leverett will go on to represent Australia at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games this October in Argentina.