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The first day of racing got underway at the 2014 Sydney International Rowing Regatta today at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith, Sydney.

Unsurprisingly, the Australian Rowing Team crews competing for their various rowing clubs in the first round heats of the National Open Water Championship dominated each of their races to secure places in their various semi-finals and finals.

The current Women’s Single Scull World Champion, Kim Crow (MUBC), led the pack in the Open Women’s Single Scull with a top finishing time of 7.27.59, while fellow national team-mates Olympia Aldersey (Adelaide-SASI) and Sally Kehoe (SUBC-SASI) won their respective heats with times of 7.43.52 and 7.38.27 respectively. The results of the heats can be found here.

Ella Flecker of Tasmania stormed her way into the semi-finals with a win in her Open Lightweight Women’s Single Scull heat, with a time of 7:53:35. The 26-year-old finished her race with a two-second lead over the other heat winners of Hannah Every-Hall and Alice McNamara, who also head to the semi-finals.

On her performance today, Flecker, who races out of Huon-TIS, said: “I’ve got to be happy with the win, it was a good race and definitely a challenging race, especially as I was in a new boat which I only rowed in for the first time yesterday.

“Despite the brief delay in racing, the conditions were pretty prime for racing and not too hot which made it an enjoyable day.

“It was good start to nationals, however, it’s only the heats and the regatta’s barely begun. I’ve lots to focus on this week with Nationals, Interstate and World Rowing Cup to come, but I am looking forward to the challenge and some good competition,”

Flecker also had praise for her fellow Australian Rowing team-mates who competed today, saying: “In addition, it was pleasing to see so many of my Australian Rowing team-mates get out to a good start for Nationals, putting them in good stead for the semis and finals later this week.”

During a cloudy and stormy afternoon out in Penrith, which saw racing delayed for over an hour due to thunderstorms, the two Women’s Coxless Pair heats saw four crews progress to the finals, which will be held on Wednesday. Heat One was won by Mercantile/Swan River  duo Pauline Frasca and Alexandra Hagan, while Heat Two Mercantile/MUBC’s Charlotte Sutherland and Lucy Stephan.

London 2012 Olympic silver medallist, Kate Hornsey finished second in her heat, with her new rowing partner Peta White with a time of 7.33.41, to also progress to the final while the three crews will be joined in Wednesday’s final by Michelle Yann and Renee Chatterton (Adelaide Uni-SASI/Mercantile).

In the Open Men’s Single Scull heats, the top two from each race progressed through to the semi-finals with Mercantile’s John Linke, recently returned from injury, topping the six semi-final qualifiers with a time of 7:01:45.

The other hotly contested heats of the day were the Open Men’s Coxless Pair, where the top two of each of the heats qualified through to the final. Mercantile and Sydney University duo Fergus Pragnell and Josh Dunkley-Smith won their race with a 2.29 second lead over Josh Booth and Sam Hookway of MUBC.

Meanwhile Sydney/AIS’s Spencer Turrin and Alex Lloyd cruised to victory in their heat with a 6.14 second lead over the second place finishers.

For all of today’s results, including Under 21 and Under 23 races, and draws for tomorrow, please click here.

The 2014 Sydney International Rowing Regatta is proudly supported by the New South Wales Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

The presenting partner for the event is Singapore Airlines.

Tickets are available via www.ticketek.com.au and on the gate of Sydney International Regatta Centre, Penrith, NSW.

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