The US and Canada qualified for the final of the women’s eight by winning their heats yesterday, setting up what should be one of the top showdowns of the Olympic rowing regatta.
Unbeaten in six years, the US were again dominant in their first competitive outing on Dorney Lake, winning by about two lengths in a time of 6 minutes, 14.68 seconds, ahead of Germany and Britain.
Canada finished nearly a length clear of Romania in a slighter quicker time of 6:13.91 in the second heat. The final is on Thursday.
Olympic and world champions Britain made a timely return to form in the lightweight men’s double sculls to seal a morale-boosting win over archrivals New Zealand in the heats.
Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase started the year as one of the host nation’s leading gold-medal hopes, but they appeared to lack fitness in slumping to disappointing sixth-place finishes in recent World Cup regattas.
However, they secured a wire-to-wire victory yesterday in 6:36.29, half a length ahead of New Zealand pair Storm Uru and Peter Taylor. Both crews gave it their all to the line, even though they were way clear of the rest of the field, with two boats qualifying.
Denmark were the quickest of the eight qualifiers for the semi-finals, with Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist winning the third heat in 6:33.11 minutes. Italy were also quicker than Britain by more than half a second.
In the single sculls, Taiwan’s Wang Ming-hui was disqualified from the repechage because his boat was underweight.
The defending Olympic double sculls champions from Australia easily won their repechage to reach the semi-finals.
David Crawshay and Scott Brennan surprisingly finished fourth in their heat on Saturday, forcing them to row an extra race, but they won by two lengths to reach tomorrow’s semi-finals. Ukraine and Canada also progressed.
The Aussies’ buildup to the Olympics has been problematic because of a shoulder injury to Brennan and a lack of race practice. They only competed together in one of three World Cup regattas this year.
The US won the repechage in the lightweight men’s four, advancing to the semi-finals with Italy and the Czech Republic.