October 24, 2011

Relive the Pan American Games

Click on the links below for videos of OKC athletes competing at the Pan American Games in Mexico:

Women's Pair Final (George/Smith)

Men's Eight Final (Gennaro/Otto/Didier/Johnson)

Women's Quad Final (Smith/Sechser)

Lightweight Women's Double Final (Sechser/Smith)

Men's Pair Final (Gennaro/Otto)

Lightweight Men's Double Final (Paradiso/Duff)

Men's Quad Final (Paradiso/Duff)

OKC Athletes Compete at the 47th Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston

Athletes representing USRowing Training Center - Oklahoma City traveled to Boston this weekend to compete in the 47th running of the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, MA.

OKC's Austin Meyer joined forces with Harvard University teammate, Andrew Campbell, in the Championship Men's Double. The crew finished second in a time of 16:42.9 behind first place Peter and Tom Graves in 16:26.8. The Graves brothers represented the United States in the Men's Double at the 2011 World Rowing Championships.

Next up for OKC was Tom Paradiso in the Championship Men's Single. Paradiso, fresh off racing at the Pan American Games, finished 4th in a time of 18:36.7. Deaglan McEachern finished in 12th place in a time of 19:15.4 ahead of Max Goff in 14th place (19:18.2).

OKC's Hilary Cumbest finished 14th in the Championship Women's Single in a time of  21:24.9.

Tony Davis and Jacqui Kapinowski won the Mixed Trunk and Arms Double in a time of  24:32.5. Davis and Kapinowski competed in the TA Double at the 2011 World Rowing Championships.

Nicole Dinion, racing in the Lightweight Women's Single event, finished 10th in a time of 21:16.5.

USRowing Training Center - OKC finished 5th in the Championship Men's Four in a time of 16:32.3 and 2nd in the Championship Men's Eight in a time of 14:23.3.

In the Lightweight Men's Eight, OKC's entry posted an impressive 14:27.7 giving them first place over second place Harvard University (14:41.8).

October 21, 2011

Tulsa Alum Michelle Sechser Grabs Hardware at Pan Am Games

Link to Tulsa Sport's coverage of OKC's Michelle Sechser at the Pam Am Games:


Former Drake rower Chelsea Smith wins two bronze medals at Pan American Games

Check out the link below for an article about OKC's Chelsea Smith:


Chelsea Smith and Michelle Sechser

OKC High Performance Athletes Return Home With 5 Medals from the XVI Pan Am Games

With the completion of the rowing events at the XVI Pan American Games, United States crews finished with eight total medals including four gold, two silver and two bronze. Oklahoma City High Performance Center athletes won five of the eight medals awarded to Team USA. Cuba won nine total medals (three gold), with Argentina (five gold) and Canada (no gold) also finishing with eight medals.

The U.S. men’s eight of coxswain Marcus McElhenney, Michael Gennaro, Matt Wheeler, Blaise Didier, Steve Kasprzyk, Joe Spencer, Ty Otto, Jason Read and Derek Johnson capped off the regatta with a wire-to-wire victory on Wednesday.

The crew took command off the start, building more than a one-second advantage during the first 500 meters of the race and increasing that lead to more than three seconds over Mexico at the midway point. Despite a late charge by Canada, the U.S. cruised to a 1.69-second victory. Canada won the silver medal, followed by Argentina.

“We just came out of the blocks faster than we’ve ever done,” said McElhenney. “The whole goal was to take the race; no one was going to give it to us. We took it from the very first stroke, and we just kept running with it. My hat’s off to these guys.”

With the victory in men’s eight race, Oklahoma City's Otto and Gennaro become double gold medalists at the XVI Pan American Games. The duo also won a gold medal in the men’s pair.

Michelle Sechser, Chelsea Smith, Catherine Reddick and Megan Walsh brought home a bronze medal in the women’s quadruple sculls.

The crew sat in fourth place behind Cuba, out of the medals, going into the final 500 meters but recorded the fastest final quarter of the race to win bronze with a time of 6:39.36. Argentina won gold in a 6:34.46, followed by Canada.

“It feels great,” said Sechser. “It was a tough race again in the quad, coming back from behind, sitting in fifth or sixth place in the second 500. We knew as a crew that we were going to grind in the middle of that base and came together as a boat. We had only practiced twice and gave it everything we had.”

With today’s medal, all four women became double medalists at the XVI Pan American Games. Oklahoma City's Sechser and Smith won bronze in the lightweight women’s double sculls, while Reddick and Walsh won silver in the women’s double sculls.

October 18, 2011

Representing Oklahoma City at the XVI Pan American Games

Left to Right: Derek Johnson (M8+), Megan Smith (W2-), Blaise Didier (M8+), Meg George (W2-), Michelle Sechser (LW2x, W4x), Michael Gennaro (M2-, M8+), Robert Duff (LM2x, M4x), Ty Otto (M2-, M8+), Tom Paradiso (LM2x, M4x),  Chelsea Smith (LW2x, W4x), Jeremy Ivey (Coach)

GOLD for Gennaro and Otto, BRONZE for Smith and Sechser at Pan American Games

Tuesday’s standout performances at the XVI Pan American Games 2011 brought the United States’ medal haul up to five. U.S. crews won two gold and one bronze on the second day of finals in Ciudad Guzman.
Men’s Pair

Oklahoma City's Ty Otto and Michael Gennaro won gold for the U.S. in the men’s pair.

“We are super pumped,” said Gennaro. “We’re really happy and excited to have the opportunity to race for the United States.”

“We got a lot of momentum going into the summer,” said Otto, who, along with Gennaro, won gold in the men’s eight at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Amsterdam. “It was fun trying to make the jump to represent the U.S. at the senior level. Coming down here is our first big multi-sport competition, and it’s just fun.”

Otto and Gennaro dominated Sunday’s preliminary heat en route to today’s final, where they crossed ahead of Brazil (6:48.74) and Canada (6:50.80) for the gold medal in 6:47.07.

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls

In the lightweight women’s double, OKC High Performance Center athletes and first-time national team members Michelle Sechser and Chelsea Smith won a bronze medal. The U.S. crew was the top seed going into the final after winning the preliminary race for lanes.

In the final, Sechser and Smith were in third position throughout much of the race. Mexico crossed first for the gold medal in 7:16.04, followed by Cuba (7:17.77) and the U.S. (7:18.88).

A bronze medal in a considerly deep field is a promising performance for the young duo of Smith and Sechser. The Cuban boat featured 2008 Olympian Yaima Velazguez in stroke seat. The Mexican double had half of their most recent 2011 World Championship combo, Lila Perez Rul, at stroke, while Argentina's double was comprised of two athletes from the light quad at Worlds. Brazil consisted of Camila Carhalho and Luciana Granato, Beijing Olympians in this event.
Men’s Quadruple Sculls

The men’s quadruple sculls crew of Tom Paradiso, Bob Duff, Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg and Andrew Quinn finished sixth in the final, posting a time of 6:10.88. Argentina edged out Cuba by 0.49 seconds for the gold medal.

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls

Paradiso and Duff returned a little over an hour later to race in the final of the lightweight men’s double. The U.S. was in fifth place at the 500-meter mark before overtaking Brazil in the second quarter of the race and finishing fourth in 6:30.85. Mexico won gold (6:24.52), followed by Cuba (6:27.07) and Canada (6:29.27).

Four U.S. crews go to the line Wednesday to race for medals in the lightweight women’s single, women’s quadruple sculls, men’s single sculls and men’s eight.

October 17, 2011

Former Texas Rower George Wins Silver at Pan Am Games

Link to Texas Athletics Article:

Former Texas Rower George Wins Silver at Pan Am Games

Meg George and Megan Smith Capture Silver for USA at Pan American Games

Team USA won two silver medals to highlight the first day of finals on Lake Zapotlan at the XVI Pan American Games 2011. Argentina leads the current medal count with three gold.

In the women’s pair, Oklahoma City National High Performance Center athletes Megan Smith and Meg George held second place the entire length of the course before making a big push to the line. The U.S. crew finished in a 7:29.05 to Argentina’s Maria Best and Maria Abalo, who won in a 7:24.57.

With the Argentine pair that raced at Worlds, three World Cup medals in the Canadian pair (in the eight, no less), a second place finish is a promising result for the new USA combination of George and Smith. The field consisted of 2008 Canadian W8 Olympian Sarah Boninkowsky - Argentina' s pair has been the focus for Beijing single sculler Maria Best since 2009, and she and partner Maria Abalo are fresh from Bled's C Final at the 2011 World Rowing Championships.
“Going into the final, Megan and I knew we had a lot of hard work ahead of us,” said George. “Argentina and Canada are smart racers and we expect(ed) to have to fight for every inch.”

"It was a push right from the beginning," said Smith. "We went out wanting to get ahead, and stay there. We were able to maintain that for quite a while and went at it as hard as we could. It was the best race we could have rowed today."

On deck for Tuesday are the finals for the lightweight men’s double sculls (9:08 a.m. CST), women’s single sculls (9:25 a.m. CST), lightweight women’s double sculls (9:49 a.m. CST), men’s pair (10:12 a.m. CST) and men’s quadruple sculls (10:35 a.m. CST).

October 16, 2011

Finals Set in Mexico - Gennaro, Otto Advance

Finals are set at the Pan American Games, with the completion of a gusty second day of preliminary racing on Lake Zapotlan in Ciudad Guzman. Despite a short break in the race schedule due to high winds, seven U.S. crews saw action on Sunday including the lightweight men’s four, women’s single sculls, men’s pair, lightweight women’s single sculls, men’s eight and men’s and women’s quadruple sculls.
Mike Gennaro
Oklahoma City's Ty Otto and Michael Gennaro won the second heat of the men’s pair by more than five seconds to highlight racing. Otto and Gennaro clocked a 6:45.85 to Cuba’s 6:51.00.

For the men’s eight and men’s and women’s quads, Sunday’s races served as a “race for lanes” to determine placement in the finals next week. The U.S. won the eight in 6:02.21 with a crew comprised of OKC's Gennaro, Otto, Blaise Didier, and Derek Johnson with teammates Marcus McElhenney, Joe Spencer, Jason Read, Matt Wheeler, and Steve Kasprzyk. The men's quad with OKC's Tom Paradiso and Robert Duff with teammates Andy Quinn and Dan Urevick Ackelsberg finished fifth (6:31.46). The women's quad with OKC athletes, Chelsea Smith and Michelle Sechser, with teammates Megan Walsh and Catherine Reddick finished third (7:02.71).

OKC Athletes Come Out Swingin' at the XVI Pan American Games 2011

A trio of preliminary wins set the stage for the U.S. team as it started its XVI Pan American Games 2011 campaign Saturday in Ciudad Guzman. With the conclusion of today’s program, seven crews advanced to the medal rounds.

Oklahoma City's Meg George and Megan Smith in the women’s pair, started the day by winning its race for lanes with a time of 7:31:72.
OKC's Michelle Sechser and Chelsea Smith came back from fourth place after the first 500 meters in lightweight women’s double sculls race for lanes to grab a first-place finish and top seed in the finals on Oct. 18.

“This was first time I’ve ever competed for U.S.,” Sechser said. “For how young we are as athletes, we were composed. We clawed our way back into first place and are in position for the finals on Tuesday.”

The lightweight men’s double sculls crew of  Oklahoma City High Performance athletes, Tom Paradiso and Bob Duff finished second in the heat (6:45:14), but came back to win the rep to advance.

More than 6,000 athletes from 42 countries will compete in this year’s Games, held every four years, a year out from the Summer Olympic Games. Rowing has been a part of the Pan American Games since 1951 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the last Pan American Games, held in 2007 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the United States brought home seven medals on the men's side and three medals on the women's side, for a total of ten.

The 2011 Pan American Games are the third Pan American Games hosted by Mexico and the first held in the state of Jalisco. Previously, Mexico hosted the 1955 Pan American Games and the 1975 Pan American Games, both in Mexico City.

Texas Native Ready for Finals at XVI Pan American Games 2011

Check out this article about OKC's Meg George:

Texas Native Ready for Finals at XVI Pan American Games 2011

OKC National High Performance Center TV

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