Ted Baumgardner will try to end a stellar rowing career by winning a world championship this weekend.
Baumgardner, a Longport resident and a recent U.S. Naval Academy graduate, will row with the United States eight-boat at the Under-23 World Rowing Championships this weekend in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. Baumgardner, 22, a 2009 St. Augustine Prep graduate, is in seat-6.
"The thing about the competition at these U-23 world championships is you never can really know who is going to be the toughest," Baumgardner said in an email this week.
"The only thing one can be sure of is that everyone is going to be fast. This year there are 12 entries in the (eight-boat) category, which is more than there has been in a while. We're ready for a fight in both the heat and final."
Austria is six hours ahead of New Jersey. Two preliminary heats will be held today at 6:23 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. EDT.
The repechage (second chance) races will be at 6:16 a.m. and 6:23 a.m. on Friday. The B (consolation) final will be 4:17 a.m. Sunday, and the A (championship) final is at 7:06 a.m.
The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Baumgardner was a three-year member of the heavyweight eight at the Naval Academy before graduating this spring.
He was a team captain his senior year. After graduating in May, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.
Baumgardner's parents, George and Lynn Baumgardner, are in Austria this week.
"It's very exciting for him," Lynn Baumgardner said in a phone interview from New Jersey. "It's a great way to end his career, rowing for the USA."
George Baumgardner added, "It'll be exciting to watch. For him to be a graduate of the Naval Academy and the captain of his (eight) boat, and to be picked for the U.S. boat. ... We've had a lot of proud moments."
The U.S. eight-boat, with Mainland Regional graduate Sam Ojserkis as coxswain, won the U-23 championship last year in Trakai, Lithuania. Germany finished second, with Australia third and Great Britain fourth. But none of those nine crew members are on this year's U.S. boat.
Baumgardner was there in 2012 with the U.S. four-without-coxswain crew, that finished fourth.
"I'm the only one in our (eight) boat to race in Lithuania last year, but just missing a medal has really made me hungry to get on that medal deck," Ted Baumgardner said.
The U.S. U-23 eight trained in Providence, R.I., Princeton and Ithaca, N.Y. The crew got to train with the U.S. Olympic eight crew.
"Training has been incredibly tough this year," Ted Baumgardner said. "Each training location had a unique advantage for us. The toughest and most fun part of training was racing with the senior guys (Olympic team) at Princeton. They're pretty quick and it was fun to try to push them."
Baumgardner has had a chance to do a little sightseeing in Linz-Ottensheim.
"The town in interesting," Baumgardner said. "It's a unique mix of the big city and a country town. There's chain restaurants and busy streets by our hotel that contrast nicely against the field full of mooing cows at the race course."
At St. Augustine, Baumgardner was a two-year member of the varsity eight, which won the state regatta both years, in 2008 and 2009.
His younger brother, Christian, and younger sister, Susan, both row crew at Ocean City High School.
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