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U.S. women’s eight returns to podium at world rowing championships

World Rowing Championships

2023 World Rowing Championships, Belgrade, Serbia © World Rowing/Benedict Tufnell

World Rowing

The U.S. won seven medals at the just-concluded world rowing championships, including its first global medal in the women’s eight — where it used to be a dynasty — in four years.

The women’s eight took silver, 2.45 seconds behind Romania in Belgrade on Sunday.

The U.S. women’s eight won every Olympic and world title from 2006 to 2016, then placed fourth, first and third at world championships in the Tokyo Olympic cycle. It then dropped to fourth at the Tokyo Games and at last year’s worlds.

This year’s boat brought back its four youngest Olympians from Tokyo — Jessica Thoennes, Charlotte Buck, Brooke Mooney and Regina Salmons. At coxswain, Cristina Castagna has succeeded the retired Katelin Guregian.

“It means so much,” Buck said of the silver, according to US Rowing. “I’ve been in the eight the last two years, and it’s been so tough coming in fourth. We worked really, really hard to get out of that position.”

Romania preceded the U.S. as the queen of the eight, winning three consecutive Olympics before the Americans snapped the streak in Beijing in 2008. Now the rivalry is stoked again, and Romania is back-to-back world champ going into the Paris Games.

Also at worlds, the U.S. earned silvers in in the women’s lightweight double sculls (Michelle Sechser and Mary Jones) and men’s four (Justin Best, Nick Mead, Michael Grady and Liam Corrigan) and bronze in the women’s double sculls (Kristi Wagner and Sophia Vitas).

Sophia Luwis added bronze in the women’s lightweight single sculls, an event that is not on the Olympic program.

The U.S. added silvers in Para rowing events: mixed four with coxswain (Emelie Eldracher, Ben Washburne, Alex Flynn, Saige Harper and Skylar Dahl) and mixed double sculls (Todd Vogt and Gemma Wollenschlaeger).