June 27, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Rachel Jeffers, who stroked the Yale varsity eight to the 2007 NCAA championship, has been named an alternate to the rowing team that will represent the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The U.S. will have women's crews competing in single sculls, double sculls, quadruple sculls, pair and eight events.
"I'm really excited to be part of the team and to be making the trip to the Olympics. It's a pretty competitive group, and I'm happy to be a part of it in whatever manner that entails," Jeffers said. "Three years ago, I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to go to the Olympics. It's pretty incredible."
Jeffers has been training with the U.S. team since graduating from Yale in 2007. She won a gold medal in the eight at both the 2007 and 2008 FISA World Cup stops in Lucerne. She also captured gold in the four at the 2007 FISA World Championships.
"Rachel is one of the best natural athletes I have ever coached," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "It's no surprise to me that only one year out of college she was able to make the Olympic team in a very competitive field. I couldn't be more proud of her."
At Yale, Jeffers was a three-time first team CRCA All-America selection and earned All-New England honors in each of her four years. As a senior, she stroked the varsity eight to an undefeated season that included victories at the Eastern Sprints and NCAA Championships. She was the recipient of the 2007 Nellie Pratt Elliot Award, the most prestigious athletic honor given to a senior female at Yale.
"Rowing at Yale prepared me to be competitive at the Olympic level," Jeffers said. "Most of the girls on the Olympic team have been training with the group for three or four years and some as many as seven years. For me to be able to transfer from collegiate rowing to this level and within a year be an Olympic spare speaks to the level of rowing, training and commitment there is at Yale. Without my experience rowing at Yale, there is no way I could be where I am now."
Jeffers is one of two former Yale rowers who will be in Beijing. Ashley Brzozowicz '04 is a member of the Canadian women's eight that qualified for the Games earlier this month.
Rowing at the 2008 Olympic Games begins August 9 and runs through August 17. The competition will take place at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park, located in Mapo Town in the Shunyi district of Beijing. The rowing course is located about 45 kilometers outside of downtown Beijing.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity