July 15, 2012

Dethlefs Defends U23 Gold with U.S. Eight

Symington Wins Silver with Australian Coxless Four

TRAKAI, Lithuania – In his last year of eligibility at the under-23 level, Tom Dethlefs '12 is bringing home another gold medal from an Under 23 World Championships.  Dethlefs, Yale's captain for the 2011-12 season, rowed in seven-seat of the U.S. eight that finished first at the 2012 World Rowing Under 23 Championships on Sunday.  Dethlefs' win followed up another medal for a Yale oarsman in Trakai, with rising junior Owen Symington winning silver for Australia in the coxless four on Saturday.

Dethlefs and his mates started off the regatta with a win in their heat on Thursday, earning a spot in the final and avoiding Friday's repechage.  In their heat the U.S. owned a lead after a very fast first 500, clocking in at 1:20.82, nearly two seconds faster than the Australian eight.  The U.S. maintained their lead throughout the race and would go on to win the heat over the Aussies in a time of 5:37.27.  Germany proved they would be tough competition in the final, having won the earlier heat with a slightly faster time of 5:36.79.

The last race of the entire regatta was the A final of the men's eights.  Germany led for the first 1000 meters, but only by a few seats.  By the 1500-meter mark the U.S. had upped their rate to take a half-length lead and were a full second faster than the Germans coming into the final 500 meters.  Coming past the grandstand the U.S. were able to hold off the Germans in the final moments of the race to cross the line first.  The U.S. finished in a time of 5:47.66 to Germany's 5:48.22.  Australia finished third (5:50.71) to win the bronze medal.

Dethlefs was one of three oarsmen to return from last year's eight that won U23 gold, setting a world's best time at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  The others were Alexander Bunkers (University of Washington '13) and Robert Munn (University of Washington '12).  Dethlefs and Munn were also both in the U.S. eight that took home a silver medal at the 2010 U23 World Rowing Championships in Brest, Belarus.

Symington began racing last Wednesday in the third of three heats of the coxless four.  His crew won their heat in a time of 6:06.08, the fastest time across all the heats by 0.02 seconds over Great Britain, who won the second heat.  By winning their heat the Australians were able to skip the repechage and proceed straight to Friday's A/B semifinals.  There they were in third for the first 1500 meters but pulled through the U.S. crew at the end to finish second behind the Germany.  All three crews would go through to Saturday afternoon's A final.

As the last race of the day on Saturday, the crews from Australia, Germany, Great Britain and the U.S. had all proved to be medal contenders, with Spain and New Zealand rounding out the field for the A final of the men's coxless four.  As they had in their heat and semifinal, the Germans led the race from the start, but at the halfway mark the Australians were well within striking distance at just 0.49 seconds back.  The Germans had a big third 500 and pulled away from Australia, but Symington's crew did well to hold off the Americans and a late surge from Great Britain.  In the end Germany won gold in a time of 6:25.84, with Australia in silver medal position with a time of 6:28.67.  Great Britain sprinted through the U.S. to finish third with a time of 6:29.62.

Rising senior Tom Lynam also raced this past week, and in the same event as Symington.  Rowing as stroke seat in the Irish coxless four entry, Lynam's crew made Saturday's B final where they finished fifth.  All told Yale had five current and former rowers competing in Trakai, with Catherine McDermott '12 rowing in the U.S. coxless four and Maddie Lips rowing in the single scull for the U.S.

Report filed by Yale Sports Publicity

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