From Philly to Tokyo

From Philly to Tokyo: U.S. Olympic Rowing Teams are Chock-full of Philly Athletes

Many local rowers are taking their talents from the Schuylkill to Tokyo to compete in the Olympic Games

NBC Universal, Inc.

Sculling on the Schuylkill is a deep tradition in Philadelphia, which is home to the legendary Boathouse Row. This summer, many local rowers are taking their talents to Tokyo to compete in the Olympics.

From the women, to the men, to the coaches, there are a ton of Philly folks competing for gold.

Women's Rowing

Gevvie Stone, a competitor in the double sculls, graduated from Princeton University in 2007.

Tokyo will be her third Olympics, but her first with another person in the boat. She won silver in the single sculls in 2016 and finished seventh in the single sculls in 2012.

Stone's partner is Kristi Wagner, who will be competing in her first Olympics. The pair auto-advanced Thursday, placing second to New Zealand in their heat to move on to Saturday's rescheduled A/B semifinals.

Michelle Sechser will also be representing Philly in the lightweight women's double sculls. This is the first Olympics for the Philly local who belongs to Vesper Boat Club.

Her partner, Molly Reckford, hails from Short Hills, N.J. Reckford is also a first time Olympian.

Tracy Eisser, a competitor in the women's coxless pair, is from Fair Lawn and trained in Princeton. She placed fifth in the quadruple sculls at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Eisser's partner, Megan Kalmoe, also trained in Princeton. She is a three-time Olympian and a bronze medalist in quadruple sculls.

The entire women's four trained in Princeton, and some of them also call the Philly area their home.

Kendall Chase lives in Philly and Claire Collins graduated from Princeton in 2019. Both of them will be rowing in their first Olympics alongside Grace Luczak and Madeleine Wanamaker.

The women's eight team also trained in Princeton, and Regina Salmons graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018.

Men's Rowing

Justin Best, who is competing in the men's eight, is a Chester County native who graduated from Unionville High School and Drexel University. Tokyo will be Best's first Olympics.

Austin Hack, another competitor in the men's eight, rows at the USRowing Training Center in Princeton. He placed fourth in the men's eight at the Rio Olympics.

Another competitor Nick Mead is from Strattford, Pennsylvania and attended Episcopal Academy and Princeton University. Tokyo is his first Olympic Games.

Julian Venonsky, who is the coxswain of the men's eight, is from Malvern, Pa. He attended Malvern Preparatory School.


Longtime Olympic rowing coach Mike Teti has deep Philly roots. He was born in Upper Darby and rowed at St. Joseph's University, where he graduated in 1978.

He then went on to coach at Temple University and Princeton University shortly after graduation.

Teti is the head coach of the men's eight this year. He was also the head coach in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

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