The greatest disappointment was the men's quadruple scullers, who were in a sizzling race between the four leading crews for three places. Although the result sheet shows Matt Wells, Steve Rowbotham, Alan Campbell, and Matt Langridge in fourth place at all the markers, they were vying for second at one point.
After halfway they went past the Germans while the Poles and Slovenians challenged each other as leaders. The Germans responded and did not let up, but the British were not able to find anything more at the approach to the line. This was uncharacteristic of a crew who have come far in a short time.
"We had nothing to give at the end, and that is normally our best bit. I'm pretty numb about it all," said Langridge, the stroke.
The four British lightweight crews on parade yesterday all proved too slow to qualify for the finals.
The double scullers, Helen Casey and Jennifer Goldsack, and the pair, Paul Metcalf and Daniel Harte, were one place off at fourth, while Mark Hunter and James Lindsay-Fynn finished fifth in the double, the same slot claimed by the men's four.
Lindsay-Fynn said: "I suppose you could say it was a positive start to the Olympiad. We were competitive today against much more established crews".
However, this result does not mean that the lightweight team should be seen as a write-off. They have been reorganised since April under the former Cambridge coach Robin Williams and this visit to Japan could be seen as the start of a revival.
Rob Holliday finished fifth in the single sculls for men restricted to the use of arms yesterday, and Britain's legs, trunks and arms mixed coxed four finished first.
The men's four, the women's double scullers and the lightweight single scullers, Zac Purchase and Jo Hammond, contest finals today, and the men's and women's eights and the women's quadruple scullers race tomorrow.Reuse content