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Rising Engineering junior Simon Dubiel (second left) and rising College sophomore Troy Riesenberger (second right) are two of the six Penn rowers competing at the 2022 World Rowing Under 23 Championships (Photo from Simon Dubiel).

Six Penn athletes are set to compete at the 2022 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Varese, Italy from July 25 to July 30.

RisingCollege junior Simon Dubiel, rising College sophomore Troy Riesenberger, rising Wharton sophomore Matthew Davis, rising Engineering junior Simone Vorperian, rising College senior Samy Morton, and rising College sophomore Nathaniel Sass all traveled to Italy on July 19 to begin final preparations for their individual events in the rowing championship. 

Davis will be racing in the United States Men’s Quadruple Sculls boat and Sass will be racing in the U.S. Lightweight Men’s Pair boat. Morton will be competing in the Australian Women’s Four with Coxswain boat after participating in Australia’s selection camp earlier this year. 

Riesenberger and Dubiel, competing together, earned their spots to Worlds on the U.S. Men’s Lightweight Quadruple Sculls team after emerging victorious from the U.S. National Team Trials in Sarasota, Fla. on June 15. Sculling, where rowers have two oars each, is different from traditional collegiate racing where athletes are in larger boats and hold only one oar each. During the school year, Riesenberger and Dubiel row with the Penn team and travel to the Conshohocken Rowing Center on weekends and days off to improve their sculling and small boat moving, Riesenberger told The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

Both Riesenberger and Dubiel competed at Worlds in 2021, although in separate boats — which helped them prepare for this year’s competition. 

“One approach we found is you don’t really want to get too psyched out about [Worlds],'' Riesenberger said. “You want to care a lot and you want to be locked in and ready to compete, but getting overly nervous or thinking about it isn’t going to lead to a good result.”

Vorperian followed a slightly different path to reach Worlds. Training with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project, Voperian and her U.S. Women's Double Sculls rowing partner Susan Cook — who attends Boston University — practiced in Florida and qualified through seat-raced selection; this is when rowers compete for a boat seat by switching in and out of various seats, aiming to find the fastest arrangement. 

“Our plan is going to be getting out [early and] staying out,” Vorperian told the DP. “There’s a lot of excitement, but there’s also the fear of wondering, are we doing everything we possibly can to be the fastest that we can?”

Vorperian also discussed the emotions of racing at an international level. 

“There’s something so free about racing. I'm really looking forward to just come off of the start, synced up, and just being like, 'Okay, I can let it all go and just go hard,’” Vorperian said. 

Rising Engineering junior Simone Vorperian (right) is among the six Penn rowers who will be competing at the 2022 World Rowing Under 23 Championships (Photo from Jacob Plihal).

However, with the excitement and opportunities of Worlds comes significant expenses. 

“All of USRowing is athlete funded,” Riesenberger said. “The cost of travel, boat rental, living in Italy for two weeks, the kit … everything totals up to quite a bit.” 

Riesenberger and Dubiel’s boat is using a GoFundMe to offset travel expenses from both Worlds and trials in Florida.

“We're all incredibly grateful for everyone who supported us, specifically the Penn lightweight team,” Dubiel said. “They have our backs and they've helped us get here.”