Tom Paradiso C'02 Advances to USRowing Olympic Trial Finals

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In an extremely close finish, former Penn rower and assistant coach Tom Paradiso C'02 came out on the postive side of the photo finish to advance to the finals of the lightweight men's doubles sculls at the USRowing Olympic Selection Events.

Rowing as part of a composite boating under the New York Athletic Club and USTC-OKC banner, Paradiso teamed with fellow Pennsylvania native Robert Duff (Huntingdon Valley, Pa.) to take second place in their hear by a margin of 0.066 seconds. Paradiso and Duff crossed in 6:44.097 to the third-place boat's time of 6:44.193. The first place boat from the US Training Center-Oklahoma City crossed in 6:42.962.

"We had a tough semifinal and knew it would be a close race for the full 2000 meters," Paradiso said. "At the halfway point we were in third and we were still trailing by a half-length or so with 250 meters left. We closed hard, and had no idea who made it until about 25 minutes later when we were com,pleting our cool down on the water."

Paradiso and Duff can claim the opportunity to represent the United States tomorrow in the final which starts at 12:30 p.m. EST. The work will not be complete, however, should Paradiso's boat win the race. Lightweight men's doubles sculls is one of the races the United States has not qualified a spot in yet for the 2012 London Games, and a win on Thursday will earn Paradsio and Duff a chance to row in the final qualifier for Olympic spots in Lucerne in May where the top two finishers advance to the Olympics this July and August.

"We know what we have to do tomorrow to earn the right to represent the United States," Paradiso said. "We plan to approach the race a little more aggressively in the first half to hopefully not require such a comeback."