Congrats to the women’s U.S. Whitewater Raft Team, who took home a bronze medal yesterday in the Head-to-Head race at this week’s 2013 International Rafting Federation White Water Rafting World Championships in New Zealand. The U.S. women advanced to the quarterfinals after winning a close race with the Netherlands, then fell to Slovakia, before coming back to beat Brazil in their final race to earn a spot on the podium. The men’s team, after a solid Sprint start which saw it miss the podium by fifteen-thousandths of a second, advanced after a first-round bye, through to the third round of the Head-to-Head, finishing fifth. Each of the Championships’ four individual R-6 events — Sprint, Head-to-Head, Slalom and Downriver— contribute to certain percentages of a team’s overall score to determine the world title. The Sprint is worth 10 percent, in which the men’s team took fourth and the women’s team earned ninth. Meanwhile, the Head-to-Head contributes 20 percent of overall score, where the women added 215 points with their third-place finish, and the men upped their odds with their strong fifth-place finish heading into today’s Slalom races (worth 30 percent of the overall score) on the Tarawera River, followed by the Downriver finale (worth 40 percent) this weekend.

New Zealand’s men’s team — featuring creek-racing stalwart Sam Sutton — started strong, representing its home nation well by taking home gold in the Sprint race on the Okere (aka Kaituna) River, while Great Britain took the women’s Sprint win. In the Head-to-Head contest, the reigning world champion Chilean men’s and the Slovakian women’s teams took home top honors. Click HERE for more info and full results.

CLICK HERE to follow Facebook updates from U.S. men’s team and HERE to follow the U.S. women’s team.
And stay tuned to for a full photo gallery and updates on the final outcome of the championships.