Sarasota, FL - Youth rowers hailing from over two hundred clubs faced off in thirty eight events at USRowing’s Youth National Championship on June 8th-11th. The fastest three in each event win medals but a top ten finish in any event is extraordinary, and most clubs are pleased to claim one or two each year. Then, there are the few clubs – the rowing powerhouses – whose name is heard again and again in the grand finals. This year, Dallas United Crew’s five Top Ten finishes landed them, for the first time, in that rarified group.
To compete at the national level, crews must earn a first or second place finish at a regional championship. Ten of DUC’s seventeen crews earned a bid, leaving DUC’s coaches with some difficult decisions: In which events would DUC’s crews be strongest, and which of their exceptional athletes should man the boats? USRowing’s rules allow half of each crew to change, so in May, DUC coaches fielded seat races in open selection to find the fastest crews.
Their efforts were rewarded as the DUC girls demonstrated the depth of their program, starting with their youngest athletes, the Under Fifteen (U15) coxed quad. Determined to best their fifth place ranking in 2022, the crew took second and earned a silver medal. Then, having shown their dominance at the Texas State Championships and Central Regionals, DUC’s U17 Girls Eight finished eighth, forecasting a formidable U19 boat in years to come. In the U19 events, graduating seniors Nora Thompson and Kate Russ led DUC’s U19 girls to eighth in the Straight Four. Russ, Thompson and junior Paisley Rodriguez have committed to collegiate varsity teams: Russ at University of Washington, Thompson at Monmouth College, and Rodriguez at the University of Oklahoma. DUC’s Girls U19 Pair partnered senior Sierra Ross and junior Olivia Till for a ninth place finish. Ross will row for Boston College this fall, and Till has already committed to Alabama rowing in the fall of 2024. With the class of 2023, more than half of DUC’s graduating seniors stepped up to row with collegiate varsity teams for the fifth consecutive year.
While there was much to celebrate in the sixth place finish for DUC’s U19 Boys Straight Four, teammates Daniel Sneed, Matthew Slear, Cole Farley and Jack Halverson raced for more than time.They raced for teammate Logan Betts, who passed this spring. With Betts, the crew gained their first success – eighth in the 2021 U17 Eight – then they went on to medal at the 2021 Head of the Charles. The teammates named the Straight Four to honor Betts and he inspired many calls for extra power.
DUC will continue to train this summer, focused on USRowing’s Summer National Regatta in Bethel, Ohio in July. The training is open to all experienced rowers who wish to improve their fitness and technique. Athletes without rowing experience are invited to try the sport at one of DUC’s Learn to Row Summer Camps. Learn more at www.DallasUnitedCrew.org.