Michael Grady and Alex Miklasevich have been rowing together since their freshman year at Central Catholic in the fall of 2011.
They have grown together in the sport through their four years together with the Vikings program, through respective collegiate careers, with opportunities at high-level camps, and at competitions both nationally and beyond the borders of the U.S.
That bond remains strong as they train together at the National Team Training Center in Oakland, Calif.
Grady and Miklasevich now are connected even more as both have been selected to represent America on the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team which competes next month in Tokyo.
“It’s starting to set in,” Miklasevich said of the Olympic selection.
“When I first found out, I was telling my family, and they had more of an excited reaction than I did. But it was really exciting to share it with my friends and family and see how excited they were. It also was so special to be able to share this with (Grady). We’ve come so far together over the past 10 or so years. We’ve enjoyed the process and the ways we’ve been able to get better together.”
Miklasevich said he and Grady quickly got on the phone and shared the news with their former coach at Central Catholic, Jay Hammond.
“It is amazing what they have achieved,” Hammond said. “In this particular sport, this is the highest level one can achieve. There are no professional rowing leagues or anything like that. They are at the very pinnacle of their sport. I couldn’t be more proud. This is so wonderful.”
Both Grady and Miklasevich have been in Oakland since October 2019, a couple of months after their college graduations from Cornell and Brown, respectively.
A two-month selection camp this spring helped US Rowing officials and coaches gauge the potential of different boat combinations to get the right fit for each event.
The lineups for the camp-selected men’s and women’s boats — women’s quadruple sculls, men’s four, women’s four, men’s eight, and women’s eight — were announced June 4.
The group features seven returning Olympians with three Olympic gold medals between them, and 22 of them have senior national team experience.
“I am super excited to be going to Tokyo, and I am proud of this accomplishment, but I feel for the guys who put in so much hard work that won’t get to go,” Grady said.
“It’s not easy to get to this point, and there were so many who were deserving. A lot of times, the line between going and not going is super thin. But I think they have put together a very strong overall team, and it is so cool to share this experience with Alex. He’s like a brother to me and is one of my best friends.”
Grady will row in the men’s four, headed up by Olympic veteran Anders Weiss.
Weiss, a Brown graduate like Miklasevich, competed in the men’s pair in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. The men’s four placed seventh in Rio, and it hasn’t won a gold medal since 1960.
“I think we are a slick group with a lot of potential,” said Grady, a Bradford Woods native.
“Anders brings that experience. It’s great to have someone there who has been through the ropes. I am confident that if we continue to keep progressing over the next couple of weeks, we can surprise some people.”
Grady’s international experience includes a gold medal in the men’s eight at the 2018 World Rowing Under 23 championships, a fourth in the eight at the 2018 World Rowing Cup III, and a fourth in the eight at the 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
Miklasevich is in the men’s eight, which features returning Olympian in Austin Hack.
Hack helped the men’s eight place fourth in Rio, just missing the podium and a medal.
“I watched every second of (Olympic rowing) in 2016,” Miklasevich said. “I was hooked to rowing immediately, so even in 2012, I watched as many rowing videos and races on TV that I could. At the end of my freshman year at Brown, I had met Anders Weiss, and it was great to watch him progress through the regatta and see someone who went to my school and who had gone through what I was going through make it to that (Olympic) stage.”
Miklasevich placed second in the men’s eight at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships and was seventh in the eight at the 2019 World Rowing Cup III.
He brought home gold in the four at the 2018 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.