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Bertko’s transition to lightweight sculler smooth as her victory at Head of the Charles

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This is Kate Bertko’s first year as a lightweight sculler, and she is making the most of the transition. Saturday, in the women’s championship singles at the Head of the Charles Regatta, Bertko sliced past a deep women’s field to claim the title with a course record.

Bertko actually survived a crash with New Zealand’s Emma Twigg by the Harvard Bridge and went on to win in 18 minutes 33.02 seconds, topping the previous record of 18:45.6, set by Virginia Gilder in 1982. Newton’s Gevvie Stone was second in 18:35.55, followed less than half a second later by Miroslava Knapkova, the 2012 gold medalist from London.

Stone, gunning for her fifth title and fourth straight, looked strong and smooth as she rowed past her home boathouse at the Cambridge Boat Club, but Bertko was hot on her keel and Stone couldn’t match the pace of the 29-year-old lightweight sculler from Oakland, Calif.

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