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Mercer Island rower earns national championship
Mercer Island resident Chris Wales recently traveled to Tennessee for the U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships. He and teammate Nathan Phil took gold in the men’s lightweight doubles race.
The duo competed at nationals last year, finishing ninth overall.
Wales and Phil race for the Seattle Rowing Center and won the Northwest Regional Championship in May to qualify for the national event.
On the national stage the team won their heat to advance to the semifinals, which they won again. During the Sunday final race, all six boats were locked in a dead heat for most of the course until Wales and Phil pulled ahead in the final 150 meter to win in 7:04.99.
Wales will be a junior at Seattle Prep in the fall, while Phil attends Garfield. They are coached by Conal Groom, a co-founder of Seattle Rowing and former Olympian.