Francia takes two World Rowing gold medals

San Diego resident Susan Francia has won two gold medals at the World Rowing Championships that concluded today in Poznan, Poland.

Francia and Erin Cafaro of Modesto teamed Saturday to win the Women's Pair. The duo yesterday were members of the United States' winning eight.


Francia and Cafaro became the first rowers, men or women, to pick up two gold medals in the Rowing World Championships since 2001.

A native of Hungary, the 26-year-old Francia was raised in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004, where she won All-America honors in rowing, with a degree in criminology and sociology.


She moved to San Diego after graduation to train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Otay Mesa.

Francia was a member of the gold medal-winning United States eight in the 2008 Olympics in China. She also won gold medals in the eight in the 2007 and 2006 World Rowing Championships and the 2008 and 2007 World Cups.

Saturday's victory over the Romanian team was considered to be the toughest half of the Francia-Cafaro double. The Americans pulled ahead in the final 25 strokes after trailing three-quarters of the way into the 2,000-meter course.

"That was an awesome race," Francia told USRowing. "We talked about going out there and killing it, but staying cool. We knew it was going to be tight. That is what makes it exciting."


The Francia-Cafaro victory was the first ever by a U.S. team in the Women's Pairs at the World Championships.

The 6-foot-2 Francia, who is seeking employment in sports marketing, plans to remain in San Diego training for the 2012 Olympics.

In other rowing news, Joe Thaxton and Jason Perone of St. Augustine High rowed at the USRowing Men's Junior Development Camp in Pittsburgh, Pa., this summer after being part of the San Diego Rowing Club four that took a silver medal at the Junior Nationals in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Iwamoto fourth

San Diego's Mitsuhiro Iwamoto finished fourth overall in the 2009 Blind Sailing National Championships sailed out of Newport, R.I.

Iwamoto and Glenn Bovian of Saugus, Mass. — with sighted guides Lyn Comfort and Peter Frisch, respectively — led after the first day of sailing in the Blind Division of the seventh annual Clagett Memorial Regatta for Sailors with Disabilities.

But after posting a 3-3-1-1 series on the opening day, the Iwamoto-Bovian team missed third by four points in the final standings of the event after taking both a disqualified and a did-not-finish during the second day. Iwamoto-Bovian finished with seven top-four finishes in the 11-race series.


Record falls quickly

Seventeen-year-old Californian Zac Sutherland held the record for being the youngest person to sail single-handed around the world for less than a month.

England's Mike Perham, who at 17 years and 164 days is 66 days younger than Sutherland, completed his voyage on his 50-foot boat Saturday.

Perham had corporate sponsors and a race-worthy boat while Sutherland sailed the family's Islander 36.

At the age of 14, Perham became the youngest person ever to sail solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

San Diegans dominate

Co-owners Chuck Driscoll and Tom Hurlburt of San Diego YC skippered Triple Play to victory in the inaugural Southern California J-105 Championships off Long Beach last weekend.

Triple Play had a 1-4-1-4-3 series in the 19-boat fleet to win the title by five points. Bennet Greenwald's Perseverance from SDYC was third with a 7-2-3-2-5 series and Doug and Pam Werner's Javelin from SDYC was fifth with a 3-5-7-1-11 series.

MBYC sweep

Two weeks ago the club for Smythe Cup champion Kevin Laube and third-place Olin Paine was misidentified.

Laube and Paine are from Mission Bay YC, as are Sears Cup champions Scott and Evan Hoffmann and Colleen Hackett. The Smythe and Sears cups are USSailing's top junior championships.