July 21, 2008
Brandenburg, Germany – Five Clemson rowers and Head Coach Richard Ruggieri participated in the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Brandenburg, Germany over the weekend. The Women’s 4- crew, which was comprised of all Clemson rowers and was coached by Ruggieri, finished in fourth place. Suzanne Van Fleet and the Women’s 8+ boat brought home a gold medal for the United States.
The Women’s 4- crew consisting of Liz Robb, and Hilary Cumbest finished third in their heat on Thursday with a time of 7:09.4. On Friday, the crew raced in a repechage and finished first in front of Austria, Ukraine, and France with a time of 6:58.53. Keeping their rating high, the United States finished the race at a solid 37 stroke rate and the posted the fastest qualifying time. By virtue of their finish in the repechage, they participated in the A Finals on Sunday. The Women’s 4- crew finished with a time of 7:08.71 and just missed out on a bronze medal behind Italy, the Netherlands, and Great Britain in the championship race.
Suzanne Van Fleet competed with the Women’s 8+ crew for the second consecutive year. Racing got underway for the Women’s 8+ on Friday with a first place finish in their heat. They finished with a time of 6:35.98 in front of crews from Poland, Germany, Belarus, Canada and Russia. The crew advanced directly to the A Finals, which were held on Sunday. Poland jumped out to an early lead, but the United States sat patiently in second. By the half-way point of the 2000 meter race, the United States had taken the lead. The US and Poland moved cleanly away from the rest of the field for the remainder of the race, and the United States held on to finish a boat length in front of the Poles to capture the gold medal.
“This was the most amazing race,” said Van Fleet. “It exceeded our expectations. We’re so excited to be under-23 World Champions.”
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