Originally created 09/17/00

Augusta rowers off to slow start



SYDNEY -- Augusta rowers got off to a rocky start in the first day of competition.

Both the men's and women's sculls failed to win their heats Sunday (Saturday night EDT), but will have a chance to qualify for the finals in Tuesday's repechages (second chance races).

In the women's doubles sculls, Carol Skricki and Ruth Davidon finished third in their heat behind gold medal-favorite Germany and a strong Netherlands team. The German team of Jana Thieme and Kathrin Boron jumped out to a quick lead and kept pulling away.

The Americans, who train at the U.S. Rowing National Sculling Center in Augusta, had the sixth fastest time among the 10 boats, nearly 11 seconds off the leaders. They hope to pick up the pace Tuesday.

Skricki and Davidon are strong medal contenders, but no one really expected them to beat the Germans, so they knew they would have to qualify for the finals through the repachages. They had to go to the Olympic Qualifying Regatta in order to qualify their boat for Sydney, but they won bronze at World Cup stops in Vienna and Lucerne.

In men's double sculls, Mike Ferry and Henry Nuzum, rowing in their first Olympics, finished third in their heat and will return for the repachages Tuesday. They were nearly 13 seconds behind gold medal-favorite and world champion Slovenia.