Originally created 09/12/98

U.S. gets 14 boats into rowing finals



COLOGNE, Germany -- The United States women's lightweight doubles sculls team of Christine Collins and Sarah Garner dominated its semifinal at the World Rowing Championships Friday.

Collins, of Darien, Conn., and Garner, of Madison, Wis., who have been rowing together for less than seven weeks, took the lead just after the 500-meter mark and built their advantage throughout the race. The crew was timed in 7 minutes, 5.86 seconds in beating Germany by 3.54 seconds.

Italy won the other semifinal in 7:12.24 and will meet the Americans in Sunday's final.

"We definitely have more to call upon for the final," Collins said. "We have a lot of confidence ..."

Overall, Germany got the most boats into Saturday's and Sunday's finals with 17. The U.S. was second with 14, followed by Italy and Australia with 12 each and Britain with 11. Chile, Hong Kong and Mexico qualified boats in the finals for the first time at a world championship.

Germany won the most titles at last year's championships, taking five of the 14 boat classes. The United States won four golds.

Three-time Olympic champion Marnie McBean of Canada, racing in the coxless four final Saturday, will attempt to become the first woman to win Olympic or world championship medals in six different boat classes.

The finals begin Saturday with the men's and women's lightweight single scull.

In the men's event, defending champion Karsten Nielsen of Denmark will face Australia's Haimish Karrash, three-time world champion Peter Haining of Britain and American James Martinez.

In the men's heavyweight final, Olympic and 1996 world champion Xeno Mueller of Switzerland, 1995 world champion Iztok Cop of Slovenia, and last year's bronze medalist, Greg Searle of Britain, will not have to face 1997 world champion Jamie Koven of Green Village, N.J., loser in the semifinals after his oar came loose.