BEIJING - The U.S. men's four advanced to the semifinals, while the men's and women's single scullers moved on to the quarterfinals, to highlight the first day of rowing competition at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Racing in the third of six heats in the women's single sculls, two-time Olympian Michelle Guerette (Bristol, Conn.) finished second to advance directly to Monday's quarterfinals. Guerette challenged three-time defending world champion Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus through the 1,000-meter mark, crossing the midway point of the race just 0.79 seconds behind. With the top three rowers automatically advancing, the American then cruised to an easy second-place finish and a spot in the quarterfinals. Karsten won the race in a 7:40.03, with Guerette coming home in a 7:49.14. Korea's Yeongeun Shin finished third in an 8:17.40.
"It feels good to do some work," Guerette said. "I feel like we've been sitting around the hotel. It feels good to get going. It was really good to get out there with Karsten. You know that her speed is on. You can see what the speeds are on this course, what's possible in this headwind. It was good to get the experience on the course."
In the men's four, Brett Newlin (Riverton, Wyo.), Giuseppe Lanzone (Annandale, Va.), Paul Teti (Upper Darby, Pa.) and David Banks (Potomac, Md.) finished third to advance to Wednesday's semifinals. Racing in the first of three heats, the crew sat just behind Great Britain and Italy the entire way down the course. Great Britain finished with a time of 6:00.59, with Italy crossing the line in a 6:02.84. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:03.96.
"Our first goal was to get top three and advance and then it was to put as much heat on the other top crews as we could," Newlin said. "It was a good start. We have a lot to improve on, and I'm looking forward to the semifinal."
With the top four finishers advancing to the quarterfinals, men's single sculler Ken Jurkowski (New Fairfield, Conn.) took fourth place in the fifth of six heats. Jurkowski led through the first 500 meters and sat in third place, 0.60 seconds off the pace, at the 1,000-meter mark. With a qualifying position clearly in hand, Jurkowski cruised to the finish with a time of 7:25.13. Great Britain's Alan Campbell won the race in a 7:14.98, followed by Australia's Peter Hardcastle and Mexico's Patrick Loliger.
The women's double sculls tandem of Ellen Tomek (Flushing, Mich.) and Megan Kalmoe (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) took third place in its heat and will now race in the repechages, or second-chance races, on Monday. The duo sat in second position through the 1,500-meter mark before Germany passed them in the final quarter of the race. New Zealand's Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell, the defending Olympic champions, won the race in a 7:03.92 to advance to the final, with Germany finishing second in a 7:09.06. The U.S. clocked a 7:11.17.
Anna Cummins (Bellevue, Wash.) and Portia McGee (Seattle, Wash.) finished fourth in their heat of the women's pair and will now race in the repechages. Romania's Viorica Susanu and Georgeta Andrunache, the defending Olympic champions, won the race in a 7:22.69 to earn a spot in the final, with Germany and Great Britain finishing second and third, respectively. The U.S. finished with a time of 7:29.95.
In the men's pair, twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Greenwich, Conn.) finished fifth in the first of three heats and will now race in a repechage. The duo clocked a 7:13.64. France's Laurent Cadot and Erwan Peron won the race in a 6:46.57, followed by Italy and Canada.
In the men's double sculls, Elliot Hovey (Manchester-By-The-Sea, Mass.) and Wes Piermarini (West Brookfield, Mass.) also finished fifth in their heat and will now race in the repechages. Racing in the first of three heats, the duo clocked a 6:39.37. New Zealand's Nathan Cohen and Rob Waddell won the race in a 6:24.32, while Belarus and Germany also advanced to the semifinals.
Additional Rowing Quotes
Day One - August 9, 2008
Michelle Guerette (Bristol, Conn.), Women's Single Sculls
"It feels good to do some work. I feel like we've been sitting around the hotel. It feels good to get going. It was really good to get out there with (Ekaterina) Karsten, who is a world champion. You know that her speed is on. You can see what the speeds are on this course, what's possible in this headwind. It was good to get the experience on the course."
Anna Cummins (Bellevue, Wash.), Women's Pair
-on the women's pair race
"It's always an awesome opportunity to race against the world's best. It felt good to get that process started. Obviously, we have some things to work on and are really looking forward to a second chance in the rep on Monday and going for it in the eight tomorrow."
-on racing the women's eight tomorrow
"I couldn't be more excited than to have the chance to race in that eight tomorrow. To get the chance to race in two boats at the Olympics against the world's best ? I'm really fired up for this eight's race tomorrow."
Portia McGee (Seattle, Wash.), Women's Pair
-on the heat
"The heats are a great opportunity just to line up without a lot to lose -go out, sit next to the other crews and just be in that situation before you get into the final races. We got one more race under our belt and got a chance to learn. We got a chance to see some of our competition. We knew they were going to be tough and they are."
"Germany's had a great year, and Romania always has a strong boat. It's pretty exciting to know we were in there with two pretty talented crews. They both had good races, and we felt like we had some really good parts against them."
Tyler Winklevoss (Greenwich, Conn.), Men's Pair
?on the race
"We tried to get out pretty quick and stay with the pack. We were there for a little while, but they kind of got away. We had trouble getting back in there. We're just going to try to regroup, get our bodies ready for the rep, and go on from there."