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Glenville para-rower headed to world championships

Glenville para-rower headed to world championships

French will represent United States in Austria
Glenville para-rower headed to world championships
Glenville resident Isaac French will compete at the World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria.
Photographer: Photo provided

Glenville para-rower Isaac French is ready for another go-round against the world's best.

Coming off a victory in the qualifying trials, French will compete in solo competition at the World Rowing Championships which go from Aug. 25 through Sept. 1 in Linz, Austria.

French, who turned 19 Thursday, will represent the USRowing Para-Rowing Team.

"It's pretty exciting. It's a great opportunity," French said. "I've never been out of the country to race."

He has been to the world event before, though, joining with Laura Goodkind in the para mixed doubles in 2017 when the event was held in Florida. The tandem — French was the youngest rower ever to compete in the World Rowing Championships — placed fifth.

"My mindset is to learn from the experience," French said. "Do my best and make the people proud who have supported me."

The adopted son of Charlie and Aimee French, Isaac was born in South Korea without shinbones, and in 2004, he received a bilateral through-the-knee amputation. That didn't slow the energetic youngster, who was a successful wrestler before finding even more success on the water with a paddle in each hand.

"He's very humble," Charlie French said. "He's not one to toot his own horn. He just puts his nose to the grindstone. That's his nature."

Last month's win at the world qualifier in New Jersey was just his latest in a lengthy string of them.

"I like competition a lot," said French, who began his rowing venture in 2012 when he joined the Mohawk Homeschool Rowing Association. "It helps you excel and it helps you push yourself. It's exciting to see how you can do."

USRowing is sending 29 crews to Austria for the eight-day regatta, and nine of the crews will have pare-rowers. French will compete in the PR2 men's single scull division along with seven others including defending champion Corne de Koning of the Netherlands.

"It's really cool to interact with competition from other countries," French said.

French has a goal to compete in the Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, which are a year away. The World Rowing Championships are among the steps in the selection process for that competition.

"I want to show what I can do," the straight-A Hudson Valley Community College engineering major said of his upcoming trip to Europe. "I want to show that I'm legit."

In 2017, French became the first para-rowing athlete to join the Saratoga Rowing Association's Advanced Rowing Initiative of the Northeast.

"I've never had to tell him to go to practice," Charlie French said. "He is so self motivated. It's amazing what he does."

French is seeking donations to help defray the cost of travel and competition. Donations can be made through his fundraising online page at https://www.classy.org/fundraiser/2188529, or by check sent to The National Rowing Foundation (write 2019 PR2M1x in the memo), Department 5100, P.O. Box 4110, Woburn, Mass., 01888-4110.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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