American rowing teams stroked their way to a gold and two silver medals under sunny skies Saturday at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, bringing the U.S. medal count to six on the week with one day of finals remaining.
The gold came courtesy of the women’s four of Madeleine Wanamaker, Erin Boxberger, Molly Bruggeman and Erin Reelick, who led throughout the final to cross the line in 6 minutes, 25.570 seconds. Both the silver and bronze medalists, Australia and Russia, were well over a second back, finishing in 6:27.090 and 6:27.360.
“Great race today! We came in just trying to improve from our semifinal and heats performance,” said Reelick, who sits stroke. “[It was] a really tough race today but we just stuck to the plan. We were aggressive from the start and so nice to see the result. Hopefully, this is a stepping stone to 2020.”
The win marks a sign of big things to come for the U.S. women’s four. The event had only previously appeared on the Olympic program once, in 1992, but is making its return in Tokyo in less than two years.
In para-rowing, the U.S. mixed coxed four won silver – its fifth consecutive medal of that color at a world championship or Paralympic Games. Returning to the team from last year was Mike Varro and Paralympic medalists Danielle Hansen and Jennifer Sichel; they were joined by Alexandra Reilly and Charley Nordin. Team USA battled Great Britain in a hard-fought contest and came up two seconds short to claim silver in 7:02.130.
Mary Jones and Emily Schmieg also claimed silver in lightweight women’s double sculls in 6:52.30, just a second and a half behind the gold medalists, Romanian duo Ionela-Livia Cozmiuc and Gianina-Elena Beleaga. The silver was the best result for a U.S. team in that event since 2013. Both Americans are returning world medalists, with Jones taking bronze in the non-Olympic lightweight single sculls last year and Schmieg bronze in lightweight double sculls.
“This is an unreal feeling!” Schmieg said. “We’re thrilled that we could execute the race plan today. We’re not quite sure what happened during the race but we stayed in the moment. We’re truly ecstatic!”