The first A Final of the days was the women's single scull. Everyone with the skill and toughness to make the finals in this event can be considered a favorite, if not to win then to get a medal.
The Czech sculler went charging off the line and opened a big lead in the 750 meters... open water over American Michelle Guerette in the next lane.
It's damn annoying to be waked down by the person in the lane next to you, but it happens all the time in single sculling. The smaller the boat, the more boat speeds vary through the course of a race. (Lipa of Romania had 4 lengths of open water at the 1000 in Barcelona... then won by 3 feet.)
And the smaller the boat, the heavier the load on the blades. So that monster Power 10 you just took at the 500 meter mark to get a big lead just might come back and bite you. Plus, although the water was fairly flat, the conditions were slow. So the trick is not to get too distracted or discouraged when the person next to you is sending out a steady stream of wakes in your direction.
In the third 500, Michelle dug in and cranked off the fastest 500 split of the field, which brought her dead even with the Czech sculler and Karsten of Belarus, (who won the gold in 2000 Sydney... winning by .01 over Neykova of Bulgaria.) Neykova had a pretty good lead with 500 to go, (2 seconds) and she looked strong, with no signs of fading. Michelle continued with an amazing last 500... her fastest of the whole race- and almost caught up to Neykova.
Joan Lind ('76). Charlotte Geer ('84). Anne Marden ('88). And now Michelle Guerette! Fantastic.