Olympic champion Helen Glover and new partner Polly Swann were impressive qualifiers into the women's pair final at the Rowing World Cup in Sydney.
Glover admitted she is missing Heather Stanning, who is taking time out from rowing to return to service with the army, but insisted it was great to be back in international competition for the first time since London 2012.
“It obviously feels very different to racing with Heather [Stanning] last year," said Glover, who is also competing in the women's eight this weekend.
"That includes the race calls and all the stuff that had become unspoken. Racing with someone different means that you have to build all that up again – which is not a problem, it’s just different.
“It’s exciting to be racing again. We know it will be a challenging final though with doubling up in the eight. But I am enjoying racing and this was a building block."
Meanwhile Swann returned to stroke the British women’s eight to the final with victory in their heat against Canada and China.
Elsewhere, there were strong qualifying performances from Frances Houghton and Vicky Meyer-Laker in the women’s double with Adam Freeman-Pask and Richard Chambers heading an engaging heat of the lightweight men’s double.
The men’s quad of Charles Cousins, Sam Townsend, Bill Lucas and Graeme Thomas won a tight battle with New Zealand to win and the men’s eight looked strong to hold off the USA in their heat.
"It's a new eight and it's like sharpening a knife out of a blunt stone," said Moe Sbihi, a surviving member of the crew that won Olympic bronze last year.
“That’s the way I explained it when we were talking at the training camp. Now we will have to see if all the work we put in there has done the job.
"It was good to be back racing, to get out on the water and judge ourselves against other nations and it doesn’t feel strange that it’s earlier in the year than usual.
"There has been a great camaraderie across the team on training camp and throughout the winter and taking us into this event."
© Sportsbeat 2013