The second of three days of finals at the XVI Pan Am Games features racing in two Olympic boat classes vitally important to the Latin American countries--the light doubles for men and women--along with the Women's Single, Men's Pair and Men's Quad. Argentina took three golds on day one, but the second day of finals probably won't see any one country dominate the podium's top step, though Cuba, Canada, and the USA all have a shot at multiple events on Tuesday.
Light Men's Double - Tuesday 9:08 am (CT)
Mexico got away early to win heat 1, and in a short regatta full of doubling--at altitude, no less--taking the rep off their plate could prove quite an advantage. This Mexican crew won the D Final in Bled, a few spots lower than the Cuba's 15th, but bested the Cubans here in the first round along with the USA crew. Canada's Travis King and Terrence McKall won the second heat by inches over a Brazil boat stroked by two-time Olympian Thiago Gomes. In the reps, Brazil came a close second again, this time to the Cuban crew who looked a bit closer to their C Final form from Bled, but both advanced. The US duo of Tom Paradiso and Bob Duff took the other rep comfortably, much as they had worked their way through everyone but Mexico in the morning heat, and posted a time about four seconds better than the Cuba-Brazil sprint. Argentina, another Worlds-tested boating (24th overall), came through the same rep to round out the final. On the whole, Mexico's margin in the heat was the only outlier in these results, so either Mexico really has the edge here, or this will be a classic lightweight doubles race: a six boat battle for the top three spots.
Women's Single - Tuesday 9:25 am (CT)
There's a good chance the draw for the women's single may have previewed this final for us: fully four of the finalists wound up in heat one. Canada's Isolda Penney won that first round, but only just, over Argentina's Gabriela Best, sending both the USA's Margot Shumway and Cuba's Yariulvis Cobas to the rep. Penney has raced the quad internationally for Canada, and looks on form here, but Best--the 2008 Beijing sculler and 2007 Pan Am's silver medalist--will come into this final with one Pan Am gold already, the one she won in the pair on Monday. Shumway, a US Olympian who raced the single at Worlds in 2009, had no trouble in the rep, winning to move on with Cuba's Cobas also coming along for the heat 1 rematch. Not to be counted out, heat two's winner was El Salvador's Olympic sculler, Camila Vargas, who took her heat easily as she looks to defend--or improve on--her own Pan Am bronze from four years ago. Brazil's Kissya Costa, who has raced the World Cup in the quad, also came through heat two, and rounds out the field for the final.
Light Women's Double - Tuesday 9:49 am (CT)
The light double on the women's side is one of two finals set for Tuesday that had a preliminary race rather than heats, and despite the small field this is an event with some clear Olympic implications. Indeed, the light women's event was added to the Olympic program to foster growth in places like Latin America, and these may well be the only women with real shot at the Olympics from the Latin American federations.
That said, it was the USA's Michelle Sechser and Chelsea Smith who opted to take the win in the "race for lanes," and they did so by pacing and then passing Cuba in the last 500. The Cubans, with 2008 Olympian Yaima Velazguez stroking, controlled much of the prelim however and will figure in the medals here. The Mexicans came third with half of their most recent Worlds combo, Lila Perez Rul, at stroke, while Argentina's double, which come from the light quad the fielded in Bled, took fourth. Brazil looked content to let the field work it out ahead of them, but remain the most senior boat in the mix: both Camila Carhalho and Luciana Granato are Beijing Olympians in this event, though they are just getting back to international competition at these Pan Am Games.
Men's Pair - Tuesday 10:12 am (CT)
Three pairs in this event raced at Worlds and the best of them, Cuba, took 14th in Bled, but here the Cubans trailed the USA's Pan Am pair, Mike Gennaro and Ty Otto, in the heats. Gennaro and Otto set the best time in the heats, something these two U23 champions and Worlds Best Time holders apparently enjoy. Cuba, to be fair, had nothing to gain by sprinting out of the second spot and stayed in striking distance of the Americans. In the other heat, Brazil and Mexico stunned Argentina in a tight race that did not quite match the USA's time, but was close. Argentina--who finished a pretty solid 16th in Bled--wound up missing the A Final by just inches, then fell off the pace altogether early in the repechage to open the door for Chile and Canada. The Chilean pair finished 21st in Bled and took the repechage pretty easily, but had no answer for the USA and Cuba in the heat, while Canada had clearly opted not to get into the three boat fray in their morning race. All that leaves more than three crews with a good shot at the podium, but keeps the USA pair on the inside track.
Men's Quad - Tuesday 10:35 am (CT)
This final, like the light women's double, also "raced for lanes" earlier in the week, but with Venezuala's Worlds quad coming last, even the win by Cuba's quad--12th in Bled--did little to suggest that the prelim was very predictive. Two of the Venezuelan's raced up to bronze in the men's double on Monday, just behind two of the Cubans who took silver. The most interesting result may have been Argentina's close second in the prelim: with a quad bolstered by the London-bound Worlds double--and freshly-minted Pan Am champs, to boot--Argentina has a good shot at both the podium and perhaps the top step. Mexico is coming after this event with their top sculler, Patrick Loliger, and the other interesting boat in this race is the all-lightweight USA crew: stern pair Paradiso and Duff will be not quite ninety minutes removed from their first final of the day, in the light double, but quad-partners Andy Quinn and Dan Urevick-Acklesberg will be fresh--and managed a respectable fourth in their go against the heavy doubles in Monday's final.
Look for race results right here on row2k, and tune in to ESPN Deportes coverage of the Pan Am Games Tuesday night from 4-11 pm.