BLED, Slovenia - Andrew Campbell was certain that he crossed the line in second behind Italy's Pietro Ruta. It was where he had rowed for nearly the entire 2,000-meter course.
The U.S. lightweight men's single sculler was happy with that result, because it advanced him to Thursday's semifinals and spared him from rowing an extra race on the way to the final at the 2011 World Rowing Championships.
"When I crossed the line I thought that I had just gotten second and I looked up at the (finish line) screen and saw that they were showing video of me and I thought, 'Why would they show video of the second-place boat?'" said the 19-year Harvard University sophomore from New Canaan, Conn., who was rowing in lane six.
"They usually show video of the winner. And then they showed the replay of us coming across the line and I thought, 'Oh, that's me. I just nipped that guy on the far side. It was so many lanes over, you can't exactly see."
What Campbell couldn't see was that in the final strokes of his sprint, he pushed his bow in front of the Italian sculler in lane two and finished first with a time of 7:04.01 to Ruta's 7:04.31.
"I was pleased," Campbell said. "My plan was just to qualify for the final and take it one step at a time."
It was a great first step for both Campbell and the United States rowing team competing on Lake Bled in Slovenia.
After a week of bright sun and unrelenting heat, overcast skies and calm winds made for cool, flat racing, until the afternoon, when the sun returned and brought some wind with it.
Campbell's was the first race of the day and the first of the 15 U.S. crews that went to the line today in the hopes of advancing in their respective events in the quest to stand on the medal podium when the racing is completed.
The U.S. saw action on the first day of the seven-day event in the men's and women's single sculls, men's and women's double sculls, men's and women's quadruple sculls, lightweight men's and women's single sculls, lightweight men's double sculls, lightweight men's four, lightweight men's pair, men's and women's pair, men's four and men's eight.
In all, the United Sates advanced seven crews to the next level of racing. In addition to Campbell, the U.S. advanced to the semifinal in the women's pair, men's eight, lightweight women's single and men's quad.
Men's single sculler Ken Jurkowski (New Fairfield, Conn.) advanced to the quarterfinal in afternoon racing, finishing second to Great Britain's Alan Campbell in the third of six heats.
Campbell took the lead right away and stayed out front finishing in 6:51.67, while Jurkowski remained in second finishing in 6:56.61 in front of third-place Egypt's Moustafa Fathy, who clocked in at 7:06.56. All three scullers advanced and will race again on Wednesday.
Also advancing to the quarterfinals is the lightweight men's double sculls team of Brian de Regt (Rowayton, Conn.) and Jon Winter (New Haven, Conn.).
The pair held second right off of the start and finished in 6:29.25 behind Italy, which measured a 6:24.25. With the top three boats moving on, de Regt and Winter will race next on Wednesday.
"We knew Italy would go off hard and we just tried to base our pace off of them, basically get into a qualifying spot and stay there," Winter said. "We were there by about the 750 (meter mark) and we just held it. So it was good."
In one of the more dramatic races of the morning, the men's quad of Glenn Ochal (Philadelphia, Pa.), Warren Anderson (Paso Robles, Calif.), Will Miller (Duxbury, Mass.) and Sam Stitt (McLean, Va.) fell behind in the first 500 meters and then closed more than a five-second gap in the final half of the course to finish second in 5:50.10, and move on to Friday's semifinal. Germany won the heat with a time of 5:46.42.
"It was kind of a messy start," said Stitt. "We had a little bit of the race jitters. But by the end of that, we started coming together and rowed well. Will was making calls where the other boats were, so it kind of helped us to figure out where we were. We had a good last 500 (meters). We put it together."
Also advancing from the men's squad in the eight was the crew of coxswain Ned DelGuercio (Media, Pa.), Nareg Guregian (North Hills, Calif.), Josh Inman (Hillsboro, Ore.), Steven Coppola (Buffalo, N.Y.), Dan Walsh (Norwalk, Conn.), Henrik Rummel (Pittsford, N.Y.), Alex Osborne (Sherman Oaks, Calif.), Grant James (DeKalb, Ill.) and Ross James (DeKalb, Ill.).
With three boats advancing out of its four-boat heat, the U.S. rowed most of the race in third place behind Great Britain and China. Then, in the final 500 meters, Guregian called for a move from the stroke seat and the crew pushed past China to finish second in a time of 5:36.48 to advance to Wednesday's semifinals.
Great Britain won in a time of 5:34.75, followed in third by China in 5:36.69.
"Nareg made the decision with 500 to go to step on the gas and the good thing is, that gas was there and will be there in the future," said Coppola.
"I think it was a good start, we've got some things to work on, but luckily, we've got an extra day to work on it now that we qualified directly to the semi," he said. "So we've got two days instead of one to make it better and make sure we get into that A final and qualify for the Olympics."
Head men's coach Tim McLaren was pleased with his team's morning results.
"You've got to get through to the next round," he said. "Your placing will determine how hard your semi is going to be, but it's very, very tight. The guys know that.
"That (race) was great for the quad. That was a very outstanding row from them. And the eight, well, the semifinal is going to be a big showdown for them," he said.
Advancing to the semifinals on the women's side is the pair and the lightweight single.
In the pair, the crew of Kady Glessner (Seattle, Wash.) and Caryn Davies (Ithaca, N.Y.), rowed in second place the entire race and finished less than two seconds behind China to advance to Wednesday's semifinals.
"It was not the cleanest piece in the world, but it was aggressive and strong and I'm happy," said Glessner.
"We've got our sights set on making the final," said Davies.
Advancing to Thursday's semifinals of the lightweight women's single is Ursula Grobler (Pretoria, South Africa). Grobler dropped into third place in the first quarter of the race and had to work harder than she expected to overtake Germany's Lena Mueller. Grobler took second place with a time of 7:50.23 behind Katherine Copeland of Great Britain, who finished in 7:47.88.
"It was a bit of a surprise," Grobler said. "I wanted to place in first, but it just shows me again that, as I knew, I wasn't sure what to expect in this competition. The girls are fast and you can't take anything for granted. It was a good wake up call for me and now I'm really inspired and spirited to prove what I can do."
"I have had this bad habit of always wanting to be way out front, but that's not always how you win. Obviously, as we get closer to the Olympics, the competition gets faster and wins like that don't happen."
For the rest of the crews that raced today, they will have a second chance to move on in the repechages, or second-chance races.
The women's quadruple sculls crew of Megan Kalmoe (St. Croix Falls, Wis.), Adrienne Martelli (University Place, Wash.), Natalie Dell (Somerville, Mass.) and Stesha Carle (Long Beach, Calif.) fell back early in its heat, but moved back from fifth to second. The U.S. crew could not close on Germany and finished in a time of 6:23.98 to Germany's 6:22.04. Only Germany advanced out of the heat. The crew will race again Tuesday.
In the men's double sculls, the duo of Peter Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Thomas Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) trailed the pack in fifth place for most of the race. They climbed into fourth in the second 500 meters, but fell back again in the last half, finishing in a time of 6:30.44. With only winner Germany advancing to the semifinal in 6:17.93, the Graves brothers will have to row the rep on Tuesday.
The lightweight men's four crew of Ryan Fox (Edgerton, Wis.), Will Daly (Vail, Colo.), Robin Prendes (Miami, Fla.) and Anthony Fahden (Lafayette, Calif.) will also row again Wednesday after finishing fourth in its heat with a time of 6:08.96. Great Britain finished first in 5:59.58 and was the only boat to move directly to the semifinal.
In the lightweight men's pair, the crew of Kyle Lafferty (Hockessin, Del.) and Phillip Oertle (Zurich, Switzerland) rowed from behind and finished fifth in a time of 6:53.45. Great Britain finished first in 6:38.08. Canada was second in 6:40.75. Lafferty and Oertle will row in the repechages Monday morning.
The men's pair team of Tom Peszek (Farmington Hills, Mich.) and Justin Stangel (Madison, Wis.) fell into sixth place off the start and managed to move into third and finish in 6:36.08. But only Italy, with a time of 6:28.55, advanced to the final. The pair will row again Tuesday.
In the women's double sculls, Kate Bertko (Oakland, Calif.) and Sarah Trowbridge (Guilford, Conn.) rowed in third place through the middle 1,000 meters, but could not catch second place Germany. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:57.01. Great Britain won in a time of 6:53.07 to Germany's 6:54.81. Only the top two boats advanced and Bertko and Trowbridge will try again Tuesday.
The men's four crew of Charlie Cole (New Canaan, Conn.), Scott Gault (Piedmont, Calif.), Brett Newlin (Riverton, Wyo.) and Giuseppe Lanzone (Annandale, Va.) did not qualify from its heat, but put in a good fight to the line against winner Belarus.
The U.S. crew chased Belarus the length of the course, made a desperate push in the last 100 meters and fell 0.02 off the mark with a time of 6:50.96 to 6:50.98. They will row again on Wednesday.
Racing last today in a heat that was redrawn because of a scratch from the Kazakhstan sculler, Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.) made a late charge and walked up from fifth to third, but missed qualifying for the semifinal. Stone rowed a 7:38.01, but finished behind Sweden's Frida Svensson (7:31.23) and New Zealand's Emma Twigg, who won with a time of 7:29.88. Stone will row a second-chance race on Wednesday.
Heat sheets, entries and results are available at www.worldrowing.com.
For complete coverage of U.S. crews, press releases, features and photos, visit www.usrowing.org.