Canada’s men’s eight rowing team set a new world's best time in its event Friday at a World Cup meet in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The crew won its heat in 5:19.35 over 2,000 metres, beating the previous mark of 5:19.85 set by the United States at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Canada — the reigning Olympic champions in the men's eight — earned a direct berth in Saturday's final.
"At the start, I was thinking about all the training we have done and all the confidence I have in these guys," said Andrew Byrnes, who was also a member of the crew that won Olympic gold in Beijing. "I think we went out there, and we showed we have the strength and the speed to do really well this year.
“I'm always nervous in the first race of the season. It's when you see if your winter training has paid off and I think it has this year.”
Germany won the other heat in 05:22.44 to also advance to the final.
The Canadian crew is coxswain Brian Price (Belleville, Ont.), Will Crothers (Kingston, Ont.), Jeremiah Brown (Cobourg, Ont.), Byrnes (Toronto), Malcolm Howard (Victoria), Conlin McCabe (Brockville, Ont.), Rob Gibson (Kingston, Ont.), Doug Csima (Oakville, Ont.) and Gabe Bergen (100 Mile House, B.C.).
Other results from Friday:
- The Canadian women’s eight also won its heat to advance to the final. The U.S. — reigning Olympic and world champions — did the same.
- The men's pair of Scott Frandsen of Kelowna, B.C., and Victoria’s Dave Calder finished second in its heat to advance. Men's team alternates Spencer Crowley of Lantzville, B.C., and Will Dean of Kelowna, B.C., finished fourth in the same pairs' heat, then finished first in the repechage to move to the semifinal.
- The Canadian men's four finished third and must row in a repechage Saturday.
- The lightweight men's double of Doug Vandor of Dewittville, Que., and Winnipeg’s Morgan Jarvis was third in its heat and advanced to the semi.
- The lightweight women's double of Tracy Cameron of Shubenacadie, N.S., and Lindsay Jennerich of Victoria was relegated to a Saturday repechage after a fifth-place finish in its heat.
- The men's double of Kevin Kowalyk of Winnipeg and Michael Braithwaite of Duncan, B.C., finished fourth in its heat but later advanced via a repechage.
- Women's pair Larissa Lagzdins of Burlington, Ont., and Carolyn Ganes of Saskatoon were fifth in their heat but later advanced via a repechage.