BEIJING - Women's single sculler Michelle Guerette (Bristol, Conn.) won the silver medal behind Bulgaria's Rumyana Neykova to highlight Saturday's racing at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park.
Guerette sat in fifth position at the midway point of the race but clocked the fastest final 1,000-meter split to come within 0.44 seconds of the gold medal. The Czech Republic's Mirka Knapkova set the pace for the first half of the race, with Neykova just behind. As Knapkova faltered, the Bulgarian took the lead in the third 500 meters, with two-time Olympic champion Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus stalking her. However, Guerette stayed right with Karsten and rowed through the three-time defending world champion during the final 500 meters. Guerette continued to close on Neykova but ran out of room, crossing the finish line in second place with a silver medal.
"That was my best race ever," Guerette said. "I knew that when I was with everyone at the 1,000, that was good. I knew that it would be hard for everyone to hold that pace. I held on, held steady in the third 500, and then just … took it up a little. I figured I had about 30 hard strokes; it was really about 45. At the end, I was just (saying) 'Keep it together. Don't let up.' It was better than my best race."
Neykova finished with a time of 7:22.34, with Guerette finishing in a 7:22.78. Karsten took the bronze medal in a 7:23.98.
The women's double sculls tandem of Ellen Tomek (Flushing, Mich.) and Megan Kalmoe (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) finished fifth in the final. The crew stayed in contact with the top three spots for the first 1,000 meters but was unable to make a push for a medal in the final half of the race. New Zealand's Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell repeated as Olympic champions, winning the race with a time of 7:07.32. Germany finished second, followed by Great Britain. Tomek and Kalmoe finished with a time of 7:17.53.
The men's pair of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Greenwich, Conn.) finished sixth in the final. The duo got off the line in sixth position and was never able to challenge for a top three position and a medal. Australia's Duncan Free and Drew Ginn won the race in a 6:37.44, while Canada and New Zealand finished second and third, respectively. The U.S. finished with a time of 7:05.58.
The U.S. will have the women's quadruple sculls, men's quadruple sculls, women's eight and men's eight crews racing in finals on Sunday.
The U.S. also had two crews racing in B finals, which determine final overall placement.
The lightweight women's double sculls tandem of Jen Goldsack (Banstead, United Kingdom) and Renee Hykel (Haverford, Pa.) finished fourth in its B final for a 10th-place finish overall. The duo led through the 500-meter mark and sat in second position at the midway point of the race before crossing the line in fourth. Denmark won the race in a 7:06.94, with the U.S. finishing in a 7:09.02.
The lightweight men's four of Tom Paradiso (Blue Bell, Pa.), Will Daly (Vail, Colo.), Patrick Todd (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Mike Altman (Marin County, Calif.) finished fifth in the B final for an 11th-place finish overall. The crew finished with a time of 6:07.79. Italy led the race from start to finish, crossing the line in a 6:03.12.
The Olympic rowing competition features 548 rowers competing in 207 crews for 60 nations.