Britain's Tim Brabants and Canada's Adam van Koeverden powered through Monday's Olympic preliminaries in the men's 1,000 metre kayak race, the sport's blue riband event, to secure spots in Friday's final.
Brabants, the event's world champion, clocked the day's fastest time and dominated the race from the gun to secure an automatic berth in the final.
"I didn't really want to send a message, it's more like I wanted to remind myself why I came here, I wanted to reassure myself by winning the heat," Brabants said.
He added that van Koeverden would be the man to keep an eye on in the final.
"He's my main rival for the medal, I'm the only person who has beat him this year," Brabants said.
Van Koeverden, the reigning Olympic champion in the shorter, 500 metre event, said it was not worth reading too much into Monday's races.
"It was just a preliminary race, (I was) just getting my feet in the water," he said after winning the second heat.