Rowbury spent the majority of the race patiently waiting in the middle of the pack. With just over 100 meters to go, the 2007 graduate was able to find her way to the outside and use her finishing speed to pass Canadian Hilary Stellingwerff and finish ahead of her by one tenth of a second and slide into the fifth place slot. Rowbury will be joined by fellow American Morgan Uceny in the finals on Friday.
"Much better performance than the first round," Rowbury commented. "I was thinking just to be patient. We've been working on speed, so I told myself if I was patient early, I would have something in the end. It is a little hard and a little scary to do that in the race, because if you make that gamble and it doesn't pay off you're in trouble, but I'm glad I did."
This is the second Olympic appearance for the San Francisco, Calif., native. In 2008, she gave the U.S. its highest finish by a woman in the 1,500 by crossing the line in seventh at the Beijing Olympic finals. With her qualifying performance today, she has the opportunity to improve upon her finish and contend for a medal.
While at Duke, Rowbury was the 2007 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Mile Champion and earned All-America honors in cross country, indoor and outdoor track.
The 1,500 finals are scheduled for August 10 at 3:55 p.m. (ET) and will be aired on NBC primetime later that day.
A full recap of Rowbury's performance will be available after the race at www.GoDuke.comd-u-k-e