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Five Tigers to Compete in Upcoming World Rowing Championships

July 10, 2008

The Clemson Rowing team will be well represented at this year’s U23 World Rowing Championships held in Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany on July 17-20. Five Clemson rowers and head coach Richard Ruggieri will compete for the United States in this prestigious event.

Recent graduate and All-American Suzanne Van Fleet will be competing in the Women’s 8+. This marks the second consecutive year that she has represented the United States at the World Rowing Championships in the Women’s 8+. In 2007, Suzanne earned a bronze medal as a rising senior at Clemson.

“The last three weeks of selection camp in Charlottesville, VA have been really tough, but extremely worth it. It is an honor to be named to the 8+ along with the top collegiate women in the country. Our boat has a lot of cohesiveness this year as we look forward to building on last year’s performance at Worlds,” said Van Fleet. “My experience this summer has been very eye opening. I hope to bring what I have learned from U23’s back to Clemson Rowing while I stay Involved with the program this fall.”

The Women’s 4- from the United States will be comprised of four current members of the Clemson rowing team. Members include All-American Richard Ruggieri will coach the Women’s 4-. Together all five athletes and Ruggieri were part of the Varsity 8+ crew which competed at the NCAA Championships and finished the season ranked 14th in the nation.

“It is a great honor to represent your country at the World Championships,” said Head Coach Richard Ruggieri. “To travel with such a large group of Clemson rowers says a great deal about where this program is heading and the standard being set. We certainly will attempt to be our very best as our athletes represent the United States.”

“I think having 5 people from Clemson at the Under 23 World Championships represents all of our hard work, not only this summer, but the past school year,” said Women’s 4- crew member Liz Robb. “I am looking forward to getting to Germany and not only represent the United States but also Clemson! I am very lucky to be where I am today with rowing and I couldn’t ask for a better conclusion to the rowing year.”

“I am very honored to have the opportunity to race at U23 World Championships,” said Michelle Nance. “It is an incredible experience to be able to row with some of the world’s up and coming rowers. I am excited to be rowing with my teammates from Clemson and hope that we can use this experience to better the Clemson program in this upcoming season.”

In addition, Michelle Bensman, the athletic trainer for Clemson Rowing, will continue that role as part of the United States medical support staff. Bensman was instrumental in the support of the United States Men’s Olympic Team when they trained in Clemson this past November through March. She will be traveling with the U.S. men’s team to the World Rowing Championships to be held in Linz/Ottensheim, Austria from July 22-27.

Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany, will host 792 rowers for the 2008 World Rowing under 23 Championships. This is the highest athlete participation in this event since it acquired World Rowing Championship status in 2005. The spread of nations is growing every year, with a total of 54 nations competing in 2008, two more than the 52-nation total of 2007. The regatta begins with the heats on July 17th and will run for four days, with the A Finals being raced on July 20th.

Full race reports, live audio streaming, live results, and photo galleries from the event can be found on