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Westport Teens Named To U.S. Junior Team For World Rowing Championships

Westport girls Grace and Kelsey McGinley will compete for the United States this month at the World Rowing Junior Championships in The Netherlands. Photo Credit: Contributed
Westport's Harrison Burke will also compete for the U.S. team at the World Junior Championships. He also rows for Saugatuck Rowing Club. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Three Westport teens from the Saugatuck Rowing Club will compete for the United States at the 2016 World Rowing Junior Championships this month in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Harrison Burke, 16, and Grace McGinley, 17, and Kelsey McGinley, 15, were named to the U.S. Junior National Team following a selection process that began in June. The rowers, pending final approval from USRowing, will compete Aug. 21 to 28 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The three teens attend Staples High School, where Grace McGinley will be a senior and Burke and Kelsey McGinley will be juniors this fall.

When training at the Saugatuck Rowing Club, Burke rows under the direction of Sharon Kriz, SRC junior director and boys head coach, who last year coached a pair for the World Rowing Junior Championships and previously qualified a double in 2011. At SRC, the McGinley sisters are coached by girls head coach Gordon Getsinger.

“The competition to make a Junior Worlds team is fierce,” Kriz said. “These three rowers have maintained an intense focus and drive through a selection process that is mentally and physically grueling. We are proud of their accomplishments and wish them great success in Rotterdam.”

“It took unbreakable mental fortitude and endurance for these athletes to train all the way from mid-August 2015 through the national championship in June 2016. For the girls to have shipped off to the junior national team tryouts after a very successful season is a real testament to their love of the sport and competition,” Getsinger said. “Being invited to the national training camp is an accomplishment in and of itself. To make the team and represent their club and country at one of the highest levels is an achievement that many athletes only dream of.”

The Junior Worlds competition will include men’s and women’s four, men’s and women’s quadruple sculls, men’s and women’s eight and men’s four with coxswain lineups, featuring 46 U.S. athletes. In addition, this year’s event will be unique in that the senior, junior and under 23 events will be held simultaneously for the first time. In total, the U.S. will send 140 athletes to compete in 41 different events in what will be the largest world rowing championship ever.

“Saugatuck’s competitiveness throughout the year prepared us well for national selection,” said Grace McGinley. “There are a lot of talented junior rowers, and it was encouraging to see how we measured up.” Her sister, Kelsey McGinley, added: “We’re looking forward to competing on the international level in Rotterdam.”

“The entire selection process and training experience has been tough but rewarding. I’ve enjoyed getting to know rowers from across the country,” said Harrison Burke, “and I’m eager to get on the water in The Netherlands and row fast for team USA.”

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