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World JUNIOR ROWING Championships Greenwich’s Koven, Jacobson help power U.S. squad

August 17, 2018 GMT

A contingent of Connecticut rowers helped the United States produce its most successful showing at one of the sports biggest stages — the 2018 World Junior Rowing Championships in Racice Czech Republic.

And Greenwich residents Lucy Koven and Heidi Jacobson were among the group of rowers from the state that sparked the U.S. squad.

Koven, a rising Greenwich High School senior, garnered the silver medal in the women’s pair race, along with her partner Caitlin Esse, a New Canaan High School student. The duo placed second in the six-boat championship race with a time of 7 minutes, 23.61 seconds.

Greece captured the gold medal in the event with a time of 7:10.10 and Chile finished third — 3.10 seconds behind Koven and Esse.

“There were a lot of top rowers in that category,” said the 17-year-old Koven, who rows for Greenwich Crew throughout the year. “Our goal was to get out of the starting blocks with everyone, then methodically move away from the rest. Chile was on our backs, but we were able to finish ahead of them, which was really exciting. That was one of the best races we ever had in that boat.”


The tandem from Greenwich advanced to the championship race by excelling in the semifinals, which featured 14 boats. Esse and Koven won their heat race on the first day of action at the Junior World Championships, posting a time of 7:31.11 — 17 seconds faster than runner-up Canada. They held a three-second lead over Great Britain over the first 500 meters, before pulling away from the pack the remaining 1,000 meters.

“We were really happy with that result, especially since we didn’t know what to expect from the competition,” Koven said. “During the year, I usually row with the 8s, so it’s a different experience competing in pairs. It’s really cool, because it’s up to you and just one other person. That’s what makes what we accomplished especially rewarding.”

Koven and Esse were opponents during much of the year, as Koven competes for Greenwich Crew and Esse rows for Saugatuck Rowing Club.

“Caitlin is a great person to compete with,” Koven said. “We both put in so much time and effort for the results we had at Junior Worlds. It was a great experience for us.”

Jacobson, a Greenwich Academy student, who rows at Connecticut Boat Club throughout the year, placed third with her teammates in the women’s four with coxswain event at the Junior World Championships.

The boat included Kaitlin Knifton (Austin, Texas/Texas Rowing Center), Julia Abbruzzese (Ridgefield, Connecticut Boat Club) and Noelle Amlicke (Westport, Saugatuck Rowing Club). The U.S. clocked in at 7:17.59, good for third place. Italy won the race in 7:14.19.


After coming from behind to win its semifinal race, the women’s four boat of Catherine Garrett (Darien, Connecticut Boat Club), Margaret Hedeman (Concord, Mass./Community Rowing, Inc.), Julia Braz (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Crew) and Kelsey McGinley (Westport, Saugatuck Rowing Club) raced to the lead in the first 500 meters and held off Italy to win the gold medal. Their championship time wa s 6:42.81.

Koven discovered the sport her freshman year of high school and has flourished ever since.

“It is a wonderful community with great coaches, who shape us in a positive way,” she said. “Going overseas for the Junior World Championships provided me a glimpse of a different culture and a whole different experience of rowing.”