October 18, 2011

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.

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