Women’s Champ Singles

Kate Bertko (right) overcame a mid-race entanglement with Emma Twigg to set a course record.

Kate Bertko Prevails as Top Three Finishers Shatter Old Record

By Maggie Quick | Published on October 20, 2013

Clashing oars did not stop Kate Bertko of the California Rowing Club from setting a new course record and beating Boston favorite and four-time champion Gevvie Stone in the championship women’s singles race Saturday afternoon.

Bertko’s boat, bow four, was temporarily paralyzed after she exited Anderson Bridge and became entangled with Emma Twigg, bow three, of Hawke’s Bay Rowing Club in New Zealand.

“It’s a challenging course and we were both trying to take an aggressive turn,” Bertko said. “I’m just glad nobody got hurt.”

Ursula Grobler, bow two, was headed directly for the fray but avoided it as spectators on Anderson yelled at her to steer clear.

Bertko, 29, finished in 18:33.015, more than twelve seconds faster than the previous course record of 18:45.6 set by Virginia Gilder in 1982.

Defending champion Stone, a 2012 Olympian rowing out of the Cambridge Boat Club, also crushed the old record with her second-place finish of 18:35.545, as did Miroslava Knapkova, who finished third with a time of 18:35.951. Knapkova, of the Czech Republic, won gold in the women’s single sculls in London and second at the Charles last year. Twigg, the silver medalist from the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, South Korea, took fifth.

Kate Bertko

“This is a pretty competitive event and there are some pretty great folks competing,” Bertko said, acknowledging Stone and her other Olympic competition. “I got lucky.”

For her part, Bertko won silver at the World Championships in the lightweight women’s double sculls with partner Kristin Hedstrom. She said she came to the Charles hoping to have a good race and was able to make up for the lost time thanks to adrenaline from the clash. This was Bertko’s third time racing as a single in the Charles. She dropped about a minute and a half from her 2012 race, when she was also bow four but placed seventeenth.




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