Rowing: Pinsent sums up awkward first day for British crews

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The Independent Online

Britain's coxless four yesterday qualified for today's semi-finals of the final World Cup regatta in Switzerland.

Britain's coxless four yesterday qualified for today's semi-finals of the final World Cup regatta in Switzerland.

With James Cracknell back, after missing the final day of the previous World Cup round in Munich, in the bow seat in which he won Olympic gold four years ago, the crew were faster than the other two heat winners, Germany and Canada.

With three crews qualifying from each heat, none of the winners were called upon to reveal their true hand. British stroke Matthew Pinsent's summary was: "We had a good start but it wasn't great; a good push at 1,000 metres but it wasn't great; a good rhythm, but it wasn't great."

Apart from Jo Hammond in the lightweight single sculls, the four was the only British crew to avoid the repechage round on a day when a fickle wind blustered from strong head to gentle tail in less than two hours.

Earlier in the week Tom Stallard replaced Robin Bourne-Taylor in the eight thanks to a bout of gastroenteritis and yesterday Matt Langridge was sent home because the doctor thought he was sickening. That brought the double scullers' regatta to an end.

The men's and women's pairs were impressive despite being pipped for first place in their heats. Toby Garbett and Rick Dunn went on to win their repechage. The eight finished a poor fourth, which prompted coach Steve Gunn's glum comment that his crew didn't find rhythm or length, and so never got into the race.

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