British rowing duo set Olympic record

28 July 2012 / 16:51

Gold medal favourites Helen Glover and Heather Stanning set a new Olympic record as they stormed into the final of the rowing women's pair - and then insisted their best is yet to come.

In perfect conditions, and roared on by a packed crowd at Eton Dorney, the Team GB duo won the opening heat of the London Olympic regatta in a time of six minutes and 57.29 seconds.

The previous Olympic best time, which had stood since Atlanta in 1996, was demolished by over four seconds as the British crew beat the United States by a length.

"It was definitely a heats race for us," Stanning said. "It was a solid performance. We felt quite controlled in our boat. We have a final to come and that is where we will pull out all the stops."

As a statement of their gold medal-winning intent, it could not have been a more powerful start to the regatta for the British crew.

Glover and Stanning won all three World Cup regattas this year, a dominance born out of the frustration of being beaten into silver by New Zealand at the 2011 world championships.

The margin of defeat at Bled was just eight hundredths of a second, since when Britain's pair - two contrasting characters off the water - have come to dominate the boat class.

Glover and Stanning were four seconds quicker than heat two winners Australia, who comprehensively beat New Zealand into second place.

If Glover and Stanning can continue their run of success into Wednesday's final, they will become Britain's first ever female Olympic rowing champions. They were the first crew to experience the wall of sound that greets the British rowers from the 30,000 supporters packed into the final 600 metres of the course.

"The fact we've got all the people cheering for us gives you a surge, it makes you sit up tall and be proud to be representing them," Stanning said.