South Africa had a good day at the rowing regatta at the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, with three out of four boats qualifying automatically for the semifinals.

South Africa had a good day at the rowing regatta at the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, with three out of four boats qualifying automatically for the semifinals in their various categories.

Conditions were considerably better, with only a slight breeze compared to the strong gusts of wind which forced the programme to be suspended on Sunday.

Kirsten McCann and Ursula Grobler dominated their heat in the women’s lightweight double sculls, comfortably outstripping the Irish boat to qualify for the semifinals on Wednesday. The South African duo recorded the seventh fastest time of the eight crews to qualify directly for the semifinals. It would be unfair to read too much into their time of 7min:07.320 however given they were barely challenged over the 2000m course.

The Dutch duo of Maaike Head and Ilse Paulis record the fastest time of 06:47.690.

In the men’s lightweight double sculls James Thompson and John Smith looked in impressive form in their Heat, starting steadily, allowing the young British pair of Richard Chambers and Will Fletcher to lead through the first half of the race. But the South Africans put on a powerful display in the last 1000m to finish in 06:23.100, the fastest time in the four heats.

In the womens pair, Lee-Anne Persse and Kate Christowitz hung tough in their Heat to finish second behind New Zealand and secure a berth in Wednesday’s semi-finals. The defending Olympic champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning of Britain recorded the fastest time of 07:05.050 in a gruelling battle against Denmark in Heat 1. Persse and Christowitz recorded the fifth fastest time of nine automatic qualifiers for the semifinals clocking 07:11.290.

The only black mark on an otherwise good day for South Africa came in the Mens Fours where the crew of David Hunt, Jonty Smith, Vince Breet and Jake Green, finished last in their heat behind Britain, China and a fast finishing France. The South Africans will have to race the repecharge on Tuesday to try and qualify for the semi-final. - Independent Media