Charles Boldt Finishes Third at World Rowing Championship
Last month, Zionsville resident Charles Boldt competed and finished third in the C final of the men’s single sculls at the 2022 World Rowing Under 19 that took place July 27–31 in Varese, Italy. Boldt is a junior at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School and rows for the Indianapolis Rowing Center.
We spoke with Boldt about his journey to the World Rowing Championships and what it was like to represent the U.S. while making lifelong connections with other rowers from around the world.
Discipline and Dedication during Unprecedented Times
We spoke with Boldt about when his passion for rowing began and how it quickly evolved into his competing on a world stage.
Boldt began rowing at the Indianapolis Rowing Center where he is earning a varsity credit for Brebeuf. He described his first introduction to rowing as being more different than what he had pictured.
“My first introduction to rowing was in a warehouse with a bunch of rowing machines set up, and I was like, ‘What is this?’” Boldt shared. “I’d seen pictures with everyone on the water, and it didn’t look this.”
A couple of months later, as Boldt was getting into the routine of conditioning and learning rowing techniques, COVID-19 hit.
“I was still working out, and we [the team] was ‘meeting’ on Zoom where we set up our workout mats and the coach would have us do pushups and burpees,” Boldt recalled. “Having a routine was really positive. We still held ‘practice’ at the same time, which I thought was great because it got me out of bed and got me working even though I was at home in the garage.”
Boldt shared how building the connections with his team, albeit virtually in the beginning, developed the team’s sense of camaraderie and work ethic.
Boldt added, “We were there for each other, and I would say that’s even true today. My rowing friends have become my best friends, and I show up for practice for a good workout but also to see my friends.”
As Boldt was discovering his passion for rowing, he shared some of the aspects of the sport that make it worth the wicked early morning practices and regattas.
“Getting up at 4:30 a.m. is worth it because of morning practices,” Boldt affirmed. “You get on the water and see the sun rising. That’s definitely my favorite part of the morning practice. It’s a good distraction sometimes when I’m working out and like, ‘This kind of sucks but look at that — it’s beautiful.’ It takes my mind off of things for just a little bit. And I really enjoy seeing my improvement after the hard work. I can see the progression when I look back a year ago or a few months ago.”
Training for the World Rowing Championship
Last November, Boldt decided to start training for the World Rowing Championships after meeting fellow rowers at a regatta who had competed at the 2021 World Rowing Championships.
“Their experiences were so surreal,” Boldt said. “You get to be with the best of the best and racing against all of these different countries, and you develop friendships with many of those people. I started updating my training and preparations by adding four to five hours a week to my training and adding more lifting, running and biking — kind of like cross-training.”
Boldt was high intensity training for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, seven days a week for five and a half weeks after advancing through the World Championship trials, before heading across the pond for Italy.
Part of Boldt’s training included working with coaches with strong backgrounds in training for world championships and training on the Mississippi River for five weeks — with and against the current.
“In the morning, I was pushing one way on the Mississippi [River] to allow resistance, and that makes it even harder — and a lot slower,” Boldt explained. “Then in the afternoon, I would row with the current, and that really works on your speed.”
After a whirlwind summer of training out of Illinois and Iowa and edging his way through the World Championship trials in Sarasota, Florida, Boldt beat second place by four seconds on June 14. Without much time to savor his first-place win, Boldt began training for his rowing debut on a world stage.
He left for Varese, Italy, on July 19, where he was one of the 60-person roster of USRowing’s 2022 Under 19 National Team. USRowing had crews competing in all 14 events, including the men’s and women’s single sculls, double sculls, quadruple sculls, pair, four, four with coxswain and eight.
An Unforgettable Life Experience
While experiencing a sensory overload and a lot of pasta, as he explored Varese, Italy [approximately 1 hour northwest of Milan], Boldt shared thoughts that he had in the days leading up the championship regatta and what it meant for him to be representing the U.S. among his peer athletes that were there competing for their nations.
“The weather was good, but it got quite hot, and I was really focused on staying hydrated,” Boldt shared. “There was a lot of competition from different areas of the world. I know 30 countries sent boats to race. I didn’t know anything about how rowing works over there because it’s a totally different style of rowing even though we race the same way. I told myself that I needed to calm down and row like how I row, and I’d be somewhere in the pack.”
While sizing up his competition, Boldt enjoyed mingling and making connections — some lifelong — with other rowers, realizing they all came from different countries but had rowing in common.
When asked who Boldt had on his radar as he progressed through the heats (races), advancing through the quarterfinals and semi-finals, he exclaimed, “The rower from Italy who ended up winning the whole thing — he looked like he was 30 [years old] and was really muscular! He would go down the course like it was nothing! He was in one of my quarterfinals and was crazy fast.”
Boldt said there were times throughout the championship that he was both anxious and confident, telling himself at times, “You got this — crush it!”
The racecourse was directly in front of the Alps, and Boldt described the view as being simply “awesome.”
Along with Boldt’s parents, who came to support their son and enjoy the world championship vibe, Boldt noted that the grandstands were filled with supportive spectators — and the sounds of cowbells — from the host and neighboring nations as well as from Canada, New Zealand and several from the U.S.
Boldt finished third in the U19 Men’s single sculls C final with an impressive time of 07:12.56 and invaluable experiences that he has brought back to his club.
When asked what some of the main takeaways are from the whole experience, Boldt thoughtfully replied, “It’s staying with me what I had to do to perform at this level, and I’m hoping that I can bring some of that back to my club and not just for me but for the rest of the team. It’s worth it and not just for the experience of racing but for the people that you meet and the relationships that you start. And you learn something new about yourself when you’re trying to push your body to the max every single day.”
U19 Men’s Single Sculls Final C (Final)
July 31, 2022
2022 World Rowing Under 19 Championships Roster
Men’s Single Sculls
Charles Boldt (Zionsville, Ind./Indianapolis Rowing Center)
- Finished fifth in the youth single sculls at the 2022 USRowing Youth National Championships
- Finished second in the single sculls and sixth in the youth eight at the 2022 Midwest Junior Rowing Championships
- Won the under 17 single sculls at the 2021 Head of the Hooch
- Finished second in the U19 quadruple sculls at the 2021 USRowing Summer National Championships
- Finished 18th in the youth double sculls at the 2021 USRowing Youth National Championships
- Finished second in the under 17 men’s category at the 2020 USRowing Indoor National Championships/C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints
- Won the freshman double sculls at the 2020 USRowing Virtual Youth National Championships.
|Race – Venue||Time||Place||Date|
|World Championship Trials – Sarasota, Florida||7:38.40||1st||6/14/22|
|Heats – Verese, Italy||7:08.14||1st||7/27/22|
|Quarterfinal – Verese, Italy||7:09.11||4th||7/29/22|
|Semifinal C/D – Verese, Italy||7:15.53||1st||7/30/22|
|Final C – Verese, Italy||7:12.56||3rd (15th in world)||7/31/22|