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One Silver, Two Bronze to round out stellar regatta for Australia’s U23s

The medals kept coming for Australia on the final day of the World Rowing U23 Championships, with two Silvers and a Bronze being added to the tally in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Another day of strong results would see the Australians finish with a Gold, a Silver and three Bronze medals across the regatta, good enough for equal third on World Rowing’s official medal tally.

The first race for the day was the Lachlan Carter-coached Grace Sypher in the Women’s Lightweight Single Scull final. Sypher had a solid start and battled the Canadian sculler for the Bronze Medal throughout but was marginally edged out at the finish. The result is a huge achievement, however, and an improvement from her sixth-placed finish in this same event in 2022.

The Australian Women’s Coxless Four were next to race and for the duration, the crew of Sara De Uray, Sarah Marriott, Rebecca Pretorius and Phoebe Robinson fought hard with Chile for the Silver Medal. Though unable to catch their South American opponents, the Alistair Matthews-coached crew were elated with their Bronze Medal finish.

The spotlight then turned to the Men’s Four and a showdown between Great Britain (GBR) and Australia, a rivalry across all age groups and many years in this category. The Australian crew of Fraser Miscamble, Nikolas Pender, Austin Reinehr and Nicholas Smith, coached by Noel Donaldson, led for the first quarter of the race. The final 1000m was classic neck-and-neck racing between the two crews, which was an excellent learning experience for the young oarsmen, who came away with a well-deserved Silver Medal.

The Men’s Quad Scull, consisting of Nicholas Blackman, Johnson Daubney, Harrison Fox and Alex Rossi, coached by Jamie Hewlett, started well and trailed the Dutch crew narrowly for the majority of the race. In the final 500m, the Australians and their Dutch and German competitors were all in contention for the Gold Medal. Ultimately, only half a second separated the crews at the finish, with Australia taking home a hard-fought Bronze.

The final race of the day was the Men’s Eight. The US-based Australian crew of James Isles, Jamie Arnold, Harry Manton, Alexander Baroni, Lachlan Doust, Marcus Emmett, Alexander McClean, Patrick Long and coxswain Harry Keenan put on a brave performance in a high-quality field. The crew, coached by John Bowes, came flying out the blocks with their US and German counterparts, though could not match the Team GB surge in the final 500m and finished the race in fourth position.

“It was another fantastic day for our team, with a further three medals won. For those that did miss the medals, it was again by the smallest of margins,” said Rowing Australia Deputy Performance Director Jaime Fernandez OLY. “To think we were able to boat eight crews in eight A finals, resulting in five medals and three fourth places, is quite extraordinary.

“The results are a credit to the athletes, their coaches, families, support networks and the broader Pathway network that we have the great privilege of working with. It’s been a thrill to be a part of this team and I wish to thank everyone that has contributed to its success. We put in some clear plans and strategies following last year’s event and it was fantastic to see the results of that work come to fruition over the course of the regatta.”