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Mercyhurst’s comeback kids set to row at Worlds

Friday, July 14, 2017

Danny Madden, Galen Bernick

Two Mercyhurst University rowers, each having suffered debilitating injuries in recent years, are rowing their way to a historic comeback as members of the Under 23 National Team competing July 19-23 at the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Junior Galen Bernick of Tempe, Arizona, and Danny Madden of New Rochelle, New York, met at Mercyhurst where their passion for rowing made them fast friends. Madden transferred to Manhattan College his junior year to be closer to home, but the two never lost sight of their mutual dream: to compete at Worlds.

Despite their resolve, life dealt them each an unexpected setback. For some, that might have been unsurmountable, but not for these two.

Bernick was in Southern California last July training with Mercyhurst rower Nick Wnek when just one day before traveling to the 2016 USRowing National Trials, they were in a high-impact car crash that left them both seriously injured. They fought back – hard – with Bernick getting a second chance to make the national team this year, and Wnek competing at the Henley Royal Regatta. Wnek graduated from Mercyhurst in May.

Madden, meanwhile, was suffering from his own spate of injuries last year, including two herniated discs and a stress-fractured vertebrae that left him dubious about his own rowing future. He, too, fought back – hard.

And then, this summer, after reuniting and training together, Bernick and Madden set forth for the 2017 trials, healthy and unflappable in their determination. On June 27, they won their event – the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls – and became two among the 69-person roster for the  U.S. Under 23 National Team.

Mercyhurst Rowing Coach Adrian Spracklen couldn’t be more pleased.  

“Galen had quite a comeback - to go from almost dying to representing the United States at the World Championships,” Spracklen said. “He’s definitely a fighter with the will to succeed.”

As for Madden, Spracklen said, “We were sad to see him leave, but he’s a great guy from a wonderful family and we fully support him.”

Spracklen added that both Bernick and Madden are listed on the U.S. National Team roster as Mercyhurst University rowers. “I think that gives you a little insight into where Danny’s heart is,” he said.

Complete press coverage, athletic bios, and links to event information can be found at and You can follow along with the Under 23 team as they prepare by using hashtag #RowtoPlovdiv.