Incoming Heavyweight Dan de Groot Claims Silver To Cap World Juniors
A week after Princeton claimed six medals at the U-23 World Championships, incoming heavyweight recruit Dan de Groot claimed a silver medal in the men's single event for the Canadian National Team.
de Groot was one of five members of the Princeton Class of 2018 to compete at the World Junior Championships last week in Hamburg, Germany. Future teammate Augustin Wambersie won the B final in the Belgium 4x, while incoming open recruits Melissa Curtis, Riley Macaulay and Erica Swartwout all helped the U.S. W8+ to the A final.
"World Juniors was a great training and racing experience for me," de Groot said. "It was my first racing experience at the international level, so I had never been faced with such a deep field of strong competitors. The racing definitely helped improve the maturity of my racing and my mental toughness in races, because you have to race smart and can't open any doors for the competition."
de Groot was in one of the two Canadian boats to earn a medal at World Juniors. He qualified in the final of the men's single, and found himself in third position following the opening split, but he moved past Daniel Watkins of South Africa to gain a lead by the 1000-meter mark. Though German Tim Ole Naske held a big lead in his home country, de Groot made a big move in the third split to hold a comfortable edge for second and claimed silver in 8:38.17.
"The final race was not very special, as the conditions limited everyone's ability to race, spreading out the field by large distances," de Groot said. "The race I will remember the most was my semifinal dogfight with the German sculler. We had fought the whole way down the course and were only separated by 0.26 seconds at the finish, with him taking the win. By the end of the 2k we had opened up over 11 seconds on the third and final boat to qualify for Sunday's A final. Ending the regatta on the medal dock was a very special moment, and I will remember that forever."
Five Canadian boats have won international medals over the last two weeks, and two had a Princetonian in it. At the U-23 World Championships, Martin Barakso helped Canada win its lone gold in the Canadian coxed four.
Wambersie missed out on the A final by less than three seconds, but his 4x bounced back in style to win the B final by less than half a second. Wambersie, rowing in seat 2, helped Belgium out to an early lead, but Croatia stayed within two seconds at every split. The two boats were alone in their sprint for gold, and Belgium held off Croatia by .33 of a second to win in 6:40.93.
The U.S. women's eight took third in the repechage to qualify for its A final, but it could never quite get itself into the hunt during the final 2,000 meters. The Princeton trio held three of four seats (Macaulay, bow; Swartwout, 3; Curtis, 4) and ultimately finished sixth in 7:57.66.
The five will join two of Princeton's most successful programs from the previous spring. The women repeated as Ivy League champion, while the heavyweights earned a bronze medal at Sprints and had their best finish (fourth) at the IRA Nationals since 2006.
"I'm really looking forward to joining the program and being part of the team," de Groot said. "It will be a great environment starting in the fall with so many of us coming off international success this summer, and everyone looking to build on the great team results that the Princeton crew achieved last year."
With the U-23 and Junior Championships completed, the focus now turns to the Senior World Championships, held Aug. 24-31 in Amsterdam. Several of Princeton's top former rowers have already been named to their respective national teams; check back later to GoPrincetonTigers.com for a full preview of the event.