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.