Ashland High graduate Chad Healy represented the United States today in the World Rowing U-23 Championships in Brandenburg, Germany.




Only five years after he began rowing as a junior at AHS, Healy helped Team USA's senior B lightweight men's four team finish fourth in its heat on Lake Beetzsee in 6 minutes, 37.75 seconds (the course is 2,000 meters). Spain won the heat in 6:26.01, while Italy finished second and Argentina third.




Healy and his three teammates &

John Wainwright, Anthony Fahden and David Montani &

still have a shot at advancing to the finals and possibly bringing home the gold but will need to finish strong. They must finish in top two in Friday's repechage race in order to qualify for the grand final, or 'A' final, which will be held Sunday. The petite finals, or 'B' finals, will be held Saturday.




Healy, 21, graduated as Ashland High's Salutatorian in 2005 before going on to row for the Navel Academy in Annapolis, Md. He finished his junior season in the spring with a second-place finish in the men's eight national championships in New Jersey. After the season, he was selected to try out for the U.S. National Team, which he made.




"I've been rowing at the Navel Academy for three years now and really have just fallen in love with the sport," Healy said before today's race. "I've just received some awesome coaching and really learned to push myself to that extra degree that may I didn't have in high school.




"At the Academy, rowing has been my saving grace. When you're out there on the water at 5:30 in the morning, it's like 'Wow, I'm doing something that matters.'"




Healy's fast rise was somewhat of a surprise. He took up the sport later in life than most national competitors and within a year Healy and Jamal Pautsch teamed up to place 13th in the double sculls event of the U.S. Rowing National Youth Invitational.




He continued to excel for the Navy and has been selected by his peers to be the lightweight crew captain for his senior year.




"I never saw myself getting to this point," he said. "I came to the Academy with the idea that if I made the rowing team, great, but if I didn't then I'd do triathlon or something. There was kind of no commitment. But really, I've fallen in love with the sport."




After making the team, Healy moved to Berkeley, Calif., to begin an exhausting training schedule that included two three-hour practices a day.




"At first, I got a little sore, but my body definitely adapted to it," he said.




"The training regimen was very well planned out and the coaches did a great job with that. I feel like I've definitely improved. I've gotten stronger and my technique has gotten better."