June 26, 2013

Three Bulldogs Earn Spot In Under-23 World Championships

Wagner, Lips, Szokol Qualify

Yale women's crew will have an impressive presence at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria, in late July. Rising seniors Maddie Lips and Kim Szokol and rising junior Kristina Wagner all earned a spot representing the United States on the final day of the trials on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J.

"This is the most u23 athletes we have ever had in one season. I am super proud of all of them," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "It is awesome."

Lips, the captain of the 2013-14 Bulldogs, won the women's single scull final by more than 20 seconds. She led the pack of four crews by nearly five boat lengths at the 1500-meter mark and cruised to the victory.

Lips has sat in the varsity eight at Yale since the day she arrived in New Haven. This spring, she earned second team All-Ivy recognition after helping the Bulldogs to a second-place finish at the Ivy League Championship. In her sophomore season, she earned CRCA first team All-New England recognition, and as a freshman was the recipient of the team's Chris Ernst Award.

Szokol qualified in the women's four that won the final with a time of 6:54.41.

"Our race was good. We accomplished our goal, which was to win," Skokol told US Rowing. "We have a lot of improvements we can make in the next few weeks before we leave [for Austria]. For today's race, we really just tried to focus and get our rhythm down as early as we could."

Joining Szokol was Katherine Ashton, Bryna Oleshansky and Samantha Warren.

"Kim, our two seat, makes all the calls," Warren told US Rowing. "She does a great job. She slipped in a ten for worlds somewhere in the last 250, which was great."

Szokol walked on to the crew team at Yale after playing tennis in her freshman year. She helped the varsity eight to a second-place finish at the Ivy League Championships this spring after sitting in the varsity four that finished fourth in the grand final at the NCAA Championship in her first year with the team. She was the recipient of the team's Chris Ernst Award in 2012.

Wagner and her partner Elizabeth Fitzhenry won the women's pair with a time of 7:29.20. The two have raced together for four years and used their experience in the final.

"The pack was close together for the first 1,000 until we started pushing away," Fitzhenry told USRowing. "They were still with us until the last 500 when we got some open water and then we began sprinting. After that, we didn't look over again."

Wagner stroked Yale's second varsity to a fifth-place finish in the grand final at the NCAA Championships last month.

The World Rowing Championships are set for July 24-28 in Austria.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity