Harvard/Radcliffe Athletes Earn Two Worlds Medals, Reach Four Finals
BLED, Slovenia—Gold medalist Esther Lofgren '08-09, bronze medalist Malcolm Howard '05 and 19-year-old finalist Andrew Campbell led a group of five current and former Harvard and Radcliffe athletes who reached top-level finals in four events in the 2011 World Rowing Championships, which concluded Sunday on Lake Bled.
Campbell, a Harvard sophomore, finished fourth in the lightweight men's single, while Lofgren won a world title with U.S. women's eight for the second straight year and Howard placed third as part of Canada's men's eight. Austin Meyer and Will Newell '11 finished fifth with the U.S. lightweight men's eight.
Henrik Rummel '09 and the U.S. men's eight placed second in the B final, eighth overall. Caryn Davies '05 earned the same finish in the women's pair.
Rowing in the bow seat for the United States, Lofgren was the first athlete across the finish line as the boat posted a winning time of 6:03.65, three-quarters of a second faster than second-place Canada. It is the sixth world title in a row for the United States in the event. The Americans were in fifth place out of six crews through the first 500 meters of Friday's final but had moved into second by the midway point and took the lead in the third 500.
"We just had a race plan and we executed it," said Lofgren. "When [coxswain Mary Whipple] said go, we went. There are always other people there, but we have a lot of confidence in what we do. We practice a lot, we train a lot and we race a lot, so when it comes time to test it, it's an exciting opportunity. It doesn't make us nervous. We're ready to race."
Howard, who won gold in the eight at the 2008 Olympics and returned to the boat this year after competing in the single, helped the Canadian entry rally past Australia to finish third in Thursday's final. The Canadians finished two-fifths of a second ahead of the Aussies and 0.35 seconds back of runner-up Great Britain. Rummel and the U.S. boat missed the A final by one spot, placing fourth in their semifinal.
Campbell, coached by Harvard lightweight head coach Charley Butt, earned the best U.S. finish since 2002 in the lightweight men's single, finishing in 7:06.64 and missing a medal by 3.3 seconds. He was competitive throughout Friday's final, rowing in second place through 500 meters and third place through 1,500. It was his world-championship final in 18 months. He won bronze medals at the 2010 World Rowing Junior Championships and the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
The U.S. lightweight men's eight placed fifth in its final, about three seconds behind fourth-place France and 4.5 back of bronze-medalist Demark.
Davies advanced straight to the semifinals with a second-place heat finish, but the U.S. women's pair missed the final by one spot with a fourth-place showing in the semifinals.