Finals are set to start at the XVI Pan Am Games, and here is a quick look at who advanced into the medal round for the races scheduled today. Argentina brings three Worlds crews to the line on Monday: W2-, M4-, and a M2x already qualified for London. The US won two of the preliminary "races for lanes" that are now racing for real today, in the W2- and M2x, and went right to the line with the leaders in the W2x and M4- before making in home through the reps. 12 medals up for grabs today; let the medal count begin.
Women's Pair - Monday, 9:08 am (CT)
With the Argentine pair that raced at Worlds, three World Cup medals in the Canadian pair (in the eight, no less), and a fiesty American pair from the Oklahoma City development group who walked away with the "race for lanes" on Saturday, this final shapes up as a three boat race with the color of each medal very much up for grabs across the front runners. No question that the USA tandem of Meg George and Megan Smith won the preliminary race handily, but the Canadians, with 2008 W8 Olympian Sarah Boninkowsky at bow, stalked the US pair for the first thousand. Argentina' s pair in this one has been the focus for Beijing single sculler Gabriela Best since 2009, and she and partner Maria Abalo, fresh from Bled's C Final, stayed in striking distance before moving through to take second. Cuba and Mexico round out the five-boat field, but did not figure in the prelim.
Women's Double - Monday, 9:24 am (CT)
The heats in the women's double set up a final that could see four crews in the medal hunt: Cuba took heat 1 easily, with youngster Aimee Hernandez, who was 4th in the 1x at the 2009 Junior Worlds. Canada, chased hard by the USA in heat 2, got through in the faster time, and has two athletes who represented Canada at the U23s in the eight in 2007. The USA's Meg Walsh and Catherine Reddick took the repechage, but just barely over a Brazil double that had a decidedly better go in the afternoon race. The lightweights racing up for both Mexico and Argentina round out the final six and, while both are lightweight crews, each has an Olympian on board: Mexico's Gabriela Huerta (2004, 2008) and Argentina's Milka Kraljev (2004).
Men's Double - Monday, 9:48 am (CT)
With six crews, the men's double also rowed a Saturday prelim, and again the USA took the win. Dan Urevick-Acklesberg and Andy Quinn, both lightweights with National team chops, came through the field after a tightly packed first 1000 meters that suggested both a tight final and more than a little gamesmanship. Behind the USA, Cuba took second in the prelim, racing Janier Concepcion and Yoennis Hernandez out of the quad which looked so strong in the early rounds in Bled before just missing an Olympic spot by finishing 12th. The strong Argentinian double--which has already qualified for London with a ninth place showing at Worlds--took third, and remain the most senior, and respected, boat in the field. Venezuela, also doubling here out of a quad that raced at Worlds, stayed on pace in the prelim as well, so there is some good horsepower--and Worlds experience--set to square off here.
Men's Four - Monday, 10:09 am (CT)
The open fours served up the tightest heats of the regatta so far, and set up a good battle for the podium. With just one to advance directly, Argentina, a Worlds crew (19th overall), took the first heat by just 0.3 over the USA and Athens gold medalist Jason Read. Canada won the second heat over Mexico by 0.8, and all four crews went to the wire within a second or so of each other. Mexico's young squad rebounded to take the repechage, just ahead of the United States, while Cuba and Brazil--two crews very much on pace for the first 1000 meters of the morning heats and fairly senior in their own right--also came through in the afternoon to lock up spots in what looks like a pretty open final.
Look for race results right here on row2k, and tune in to ESPN Deportes coverage of the Pan Am Games tonight from 4-8 pm.
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