Record crop of GB rowers pulling for podium places

The GB rowing team has broken two records before the weekend's finals – there are more athletes, a total of 39, and more crews, 10, in Olympic finals than ever before.

Five crews, including the sculler Alan Campbell and the men's four, go today and five start tomorrow, including the two lightweight crews who qualified in semi-finals yesterday and became the first British lightweight crews ever to reach Olympic finals.

Campbell will rely in his race on a system of signals with his coach Bill Berry. "Bill will shout 'virtus' if I need to pick myself up, draw strength from those around me," Campbell said. "It is our trigger word to knuckle down. Virtus is Latin and means bravery, courage and character. It is used to describe the centurions. They were brought up from birth to be able to fight with the strength of 100 men. That was our keyword during Christmas and the training we did on the sand dunes."

The lightweight four of Richard Chambers, James Lindsay-Fynn, Paul Mattick and James Clarke struck the rhythm they have found so evasive and finished third behind Denmark and France.

In the lightweight double sculls, Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter issued a challenge to all comers yesterday. They led the 12th race of their career all the way to keep their unbeaten record.

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