Breck & Chase Advance to World Championships in Bulgaria August 16, 2012

Plovdiv, Bulgaria: Chase Buchholz (17) and Richard Wagner (18) of Narragansett Boat Club in Providence won their first heat in World competition as they represent the United States at the Junior Rowing World Championship in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Coach Peter Wilhelm, of Barrington, was pleased with their performance and first place finish which sends them straight to the quarter finals. “Very nice beginning of racing for them” commented Wilhelm following their finish.

Having won back to back US National championship titles in 2011 and 2012, Buchholz and Wagner decided to try out for the US team and they were rewarded with their impressive wins over junior teams from all over the US to earn the top honor of representing the United States at the Junior World Rowing Championship.

Wagner and Buchholz won their first heat of the competition this morning by turning in the 3rd fastest course time of all heats in their division with Germany and China faster by less than 1.2 seconds in the 2,000 meter race. Wagner and Buchholz row a “double scull” which consists of two oarsmen with two oars each.  They must synchronize their oars perfectly to keep the boat straight and competitive. Even the slightest misplaced stroke can knock out competitors in this six and a half minute full-out effort where heart rates will often be in the 200s (beats per minute) as they force their bodies to keep rowing hard.

NBC Club President Dan Gorriaran commented “Keep an eye on them [Wagner and Buchholz] because they are very fast and have a good opportunity to reach the podium”. No strangers to the podium, the pair also have gold medals from the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston held in October of each year in addition to their stack of medals from regional and national level events.  Wagner holds multiple gold medal finishes in Jr. single scull events as well as the 2011 National title. Wagner’s grandfather was the Bulgarian Ambassador to Great Britain in a twist of irony as they now compete for the World championship in his grandfather’s native country.

Coach Peter Wilhelm has an impressive history of successful junior rowers who have gone on in their lives to compete at National and World level events, however, this is the first time that he has coached two oarsmen to back to back national titles followed by successful wins to earn the right to wear the United States uniform. Both Buchholz and Wagner are Providence area students who enrolled in the learn-to-row program at Narragansett Boat Club just three years ago and have now ascended to the world stage to represent the United States. They had to pack up and ship their double scull nearly a month ago in order to have their boat in Bulgaria arrive in time for racing.

Narragansett Boat Club has enjoyed a week of high success as their masters rowers returned from the US National Masters competition last weekend with over 75 medals among their 136 member non-profit club which is open to the public. Founded in 1838, Narragansett Boat Club holds the distinction of being the oldest rowing club in America with their start traced back to rowers who participated in the 1772 Gaspee raid.

Updates and information on the Junior World racing event may be viewed at http://www.worldrowing.com

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