Outdoor Center News

World Rowing Championships Results: Davison/Graves place 14th

Last Updated: 21.Sep.2018

In the long-awaited finale to their 2018 summer, the USA Men’s Double Sculls (2x) comprised of Ben Davison (stroke) and John Graves (bow) - finally got to put all of their hard work to the test at the 2018 World Rowing Championships (Plovdiv, BUL), and came away with a 14th place finish.

The duo had a busy summer of international racing. Preparations for Bulgaria solidified after the 2x won domestically at Senior Trials I. At the same regatta, Ben was named the U23 1x; and, at the end of July, raced to a 4th place finish at U23 Worlds. In mid July, John and Ben placed first in the B final at World Cup III. Once back in Craftsbury, Ben and John spent the next month prepping for World Championships. With race countdown at just over a week, the 2x and Coach Whelpley departed for Bulgaria.

Ben and John made their World Championship debut as the USA Men's 2x on September 9, placing 3rd in their heat (6:15.990) behind Great Britain (6:10.07) and Norway (6:14.67), meaning their path to the finals went through the repechage. Needing a top-two finish in their repechage on September 13th, the 2x knew they had a tough race ahead of them. In the build up to racing, Ben recalls feeling that “the boat was going better than it ever had”; but, unfortunately, their time of (6:21.80) behind last year’s silver medalist - Poland (6:19.29) - and this year’s eventual silver medalist - Switzerland (6:18.06) - was not enough to secure them a position in the A/B Semifinal race; and, effectively, eliminated the possibility of a podium finish. “After a sluggish start in the heat” Ben continues, “ and tough draw in the rep, it felt like our hunt for medals was over before it even started.” John thought that their best race was the rep, despite getting “a really tough draw” for that race.

Friday the 14th, the 2x took first in their C/D semifinal (6:26.84), nearly three seconds ahead of the second (Slovenia, 6:29.28) and third (Croatia, 6:34.57) place finishers. They did not race on Saturday; instead they took time to recover and prepare for Sunday’s final.

Coach Whelpley weighed in on their performance at World Championships, emphasizing the high quality of racing in the Men’s double sculls across the board. “Ben and John continued to hang with a noticeably thick and competitive doubles field. They did not have the best of luck through the progression, but still did their best to rise to each unique situation and raise the standards of their rowing as the regatta progressed."

On Sunday, Ben and John lined up for what would be their last race of the 2018 World Rowing Championships. When all was said and done, they crossed the finish line (6:19.17) behind Argentina (6:15.58), taking their spot as the world's 14th fastest men's double of 2018. Ukraine (6:20.87); Greece (6:25.60); and Croatia (6:26.23) rounded out the rest of the field in the C final. John conceded to feeling that they “ struggled in tough conditions in the final”, and that “Overall, [they] are disappointed in the result”; but the boat as a whole shares in the same sense of determination and excitement for the year of training ahead. They are now on the search for more speed as they attempt to qualify the boat for Tokyo. And, if they are able to make some “slight tweaks” says John, the Olympic Qualification placement of top 11 at next year's Worlds could very well become a reality.

The guys are both entered in the Head of the Charles in the Championship 1x “so our focus will be on that for now.” John will continue training in the 1x, while Ben will return to The University of Washington, where he will finish out his last year of collegiate rowing eligibility.

Congratulations to the 26 boat classes that represented Team USA at this year's Worlds! The USA came away with an exceptional medal count this year (the highest among all of the 26 competing countries, winning 10 medals total). Italy came away with the highest points accrued as they attained 3 Gold, 4 Silver, and 1 Bronze, while the USA saw 3 Gold, 3 Silver, and 4 Bronze medals across men, women, and Para Athletes.


Women's Events

Eight w/ cox (W8+), Gold

Four w/o cox (W4-), Gold

Quad (W4x), 6th (GRP Alum Alert, Elizabeth Sonshine)

Double (W2x), Bronze

Lightweight Pair w/o cox (LW2-), Silver

Lightweight Double, (LW2x), Silver

Para Single (PR1 W1x), Bronze

Para Pair (PR3 W2-), Gold


Men's Events

Eight w/ cox (M8+), 4th (GRP Alum Alert, Andrew Reed)

Quad (M4x), 11th (GRP Alum Alert, Erik Frid)

Double (M2x), 14th (Ben Davison, John Graves)

Lightweight Pair w/o cox (LM2-), Bronze

Lightweight Double, (LW2x), 24th (GRP Alum Alert, Hugh McAdam)

Lightweight Single (LW1x), Bronze


Mixed Events

Para Mixed Four w/ cox (PR3 Mix4+), Silver

Next up: Head of the Kevin II, Boston MA (Sept. 23), Green Mountain Head, Putney VT (Sept.30), Head of the Charles, Boston MA (Oct. 20-21), Head of the Fish, Saratoga Springs, NY (Oct. 27-28), Fall Speed Order, Princeton, NJ (Nov. 3), Pan American Games Trials, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Nov. 29- Dec. 3)