Double Olympic champion Helen Glover and Tokyo 2020 partner Holly Swann finished third in a tough women’s doubles heat to advance to the A/B semi-finals on Tuesday.
The pair registered a time of 7:23.29 over 2000 metres, coming in two seconds behind Australia’s Jessia Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre in first place, with Russia’s Elena Oriabinskaia and Vasilisa Stepanova sandwiched in between in second.
“It’s good to progress to the next round," Glover said afterwards. "I feel like we both know there is more to come, it wasn’t our perfect row but I guess there’s definitely value in learning in the early rounds. So we’re open to what is going to come next.
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“We know we’ve done better in training, we know we’ve felt more together in training, which is actually positive. It would be more frustrating if we’d had a perfect row where we didn’t have anything to improve on.”
Five-time Olympic medallist Kat Grainger admitted the pair have a 'fight on their hands' if they want to taste success in Tokyo.
"We haven't seen Helen back in a boat for five years," she said. "We clearly all have and continue to have great hopes, but we also haven't seen the rest of the world for almost two years.
"Helen and Polly came back to do the European's (Championships) this summer, and the won it and they were outstanding.
"The big risks were the leading nation's of the last few years whilst Helen's been away, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, they were all to come back in and they've shown how good they are at the global level.
There's a fight on our hands, but Helen and Polly would have expected that, this is the Olympic Games and no one gives a title up that easy.
Glover, 35, came out of retirement for the Games and looks to add a third Olympic gold medal to her decorated career after five years away from the world stage.
The former number one ranked rower in the world retired shortly after Rio 2016 after winning her second gold medal, adding to her success on home soil at London 2012.
Glover and Swann will face tough competition in Tuesday’s semi-final, as rival countries have grown stronger since Glover’s return.
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