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Olympic champion duo in fine form

23 March 2012

Reigning double sculls gold-medallists Scott Brennan and David Crawshay produced the most impressive performance on the first day of Olympic rowing trials to ensure their tickets to the London Games.

Brennan and Crawshay, looking to become the first male double-scullers to defend an Olympic title in 88 years, are certainties to be selected in the Australian team after Friday's strong start to trials at Penrith Lakes.

Despite only racing against the clock, the 2008 Beijing champions produced a fast time of six minutes 20.11 seconds into a slight head wind.

Their prognostic rate - compared to the world's best time - of 95.5 per cent was the highest of all the Australian crews trialling on Friday at the Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC).

Brennan, from Tasmania, and Victorian Crawshay will row again on Sunday but they were well pleased with the effort considering they're well away from being in peak racing form.

"That first race of trials is always a bit nerve wracking," the Tasmanian said. "Crawsh and I have been racing for a long time together now and we had a good pattern worked out.

"We were pretty happy to get out there and lay down a solid performance."

Brennan said that a number of crews had impressed and the team was building good momentum at the start of the year.
 
“When there’s success in the team everyone feeds off that and it creates a really good environment.
 
“There’s some pretty tough racing for all the crews here and it gives us momentum to achieve some good results.”
 
Australia’s world champion men’s quadruple scull crew of Daniel Noonan (NSW), Karsten Forsterling (VIC), James McRae (SA) and Chris Morgan (SA) recorded a time of 5:54.40 as they continue their bid to be selected on the 2012 Australian Rowing Team.

The men's eight also produced a quality row by crossing the line in five minutes 35.69 (95.3 prognostic) to kickstart a solid week of trialling for seats in the blue-riband event which Australia has never won at the Olympics. The first combination trialled was Bryn Coudraye (SA), Matt Ryan (NSW), Nick Purnell (NSW), Brodie Buckland (NSW), Josh Booth (NSW), Cameron McKenzie-McHarg (VIC), Francis Hegerty (NSW) and Sam Loch, coxed by Toby Lister (NSW).

The 10-day trials regatta was delayed on Friday morning due to the continued weed problem at the SIRC, forcing racing to be restricted to just the two middle lanes to ensure a level playing field.

The men's priority boat - the coxless four - beat the world champion lightweight men's four by a length in a handicapped race.

Triple Olympic champion Drew Ginn's fours boat included fellow Victorian Tom Swann in the No.2 seat following the late scratching of Duncan Free (rib cartilage), while Will Lockwood sat in the bow seat which is also being fought for by Fergus Pragnell, who will row on Sunday.

In other results Kim Crow (VIC) and Kerry Hore (TAS) crossed the line ahead of Brooke Pratley (NSW) and Sally Kehoe (QLD) in the women’s double scull

While the trials should see a national team selected on April 2, the final team for London won't be officially ratified until after the World Cup 3 regatta in Munich in June.

Jim Morton
AAP

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