July 18, 2013

Men’s Crew Trio Headed to U23 World Rowing Championships

USRowing Press Release | Photo Gallery

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Three members of the Brown University men's crew team will represent the United States at the U23 World Rowing Championships from July 24-28 in Linz, Austria. Rising juniors Hunter Leeming (Sarasota, Fla.) and Anders Weiss (Barrington, R.I.) will compete in the heavyweight eight, while rising senior Morgan Gerlak (Baltimore, Md.) was selected to the heavyweight straight four.

The spots for the eight and four boats were determined at the under-23 selection camp, where 20 of the top collegiate rowers in the country gathered to train under Brown head coach Paul Cooke out of Brown's Marston Boathouse during the final three weeks of June.

The U23 team then trained at Princeton and Cornell before returning back to Princeton this week to work with the senior team, which recently returned from a victorious stint at the World Cup. The U23 squad will head to Austria on Friday.

"This has been an exciting group to work with," said Cooke, who will coach the team in Austria. "They are young, with only two returning from last year's U23 team, but they are motivated, eager to learn and aggressive on the race course. I expect these crews will compete well in Austria."

Leeming, Weiss and Gerlak were Second Team All-Ivy selections this past spring and rowed in Brown's varsity eight boat that finished second at EARC Sprints and third at the IRA National Championships.

The invitation-only selection camp started with a few days of initial technique training, but then jumped right into straight strength racing, which tested the individual rowers in each boat. Using a seat racing method, the two boats were the same from day-to-day, except two rowers would directly switch seats to determine who was faster.

Although the path to the national team featured familiar surroundings for the three Brown oarsmen, the camp proved to be highly competitive, especially with the constant seat-changing racing.

"It was easy to make it seem like another practice at home, but the goal was not to get complacent," said Leeming, who will stroke the eight in Austria. "You always have to be on your toes, because you never know when your seat will be moved."

In addition to the competitive nature of the selection camp, the group was made up of the top collegiate rowers from the best programs in the country, all mixed together after a year of battling one another on the water. Nevertheless, the team managed to put aside college rivalries in an effort to reach the greater goal.

"It was interesting and competitive on the water, but in the end, we're all mature athletes and have the same goal," said Leeming. "We're all trying to win a championship for the United States."