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The second day of the 2016 Sydney International Rowing Regatta saw many rowers put through their paces at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith.

The Australian Men’s Quadruple Scull recently selected for the World Rowing Cups this year showed their finesse in the race for lanes of their boat class. Alexander Belonogoff, James McRae, Cameron Girdlestone and Karsten Fosterling won with a comfortable lead, maintaining a good rating throughout and as they went into the final 250m eased off the pace, their position of first already confirmed.

Post-race, Belonogoff said: “It was an opportunity for us to try to put in to practice some of the stuff we’ve worked on in training down in Canberra. The race for lanes didn’t feel like it had too much pressure which meant we had a chance to go out to see if things we’d be working on would stick under a bit more intensity.

“Looking at the performance, I think we certainly have ironed out a few creases since selection but there is still plenty more to go, but it’s nice to be reassured that we’re moving direction.”

Belonogoff, who rowed the double scull for Australia in 2015 with McRae, said he was enjoying being part of the quad: “I like all the boat classes, but I think the biggest thing for me is being happy in a boat with guys who I respect as athletes and whose company I enjoy. Myself, Cam, Jimmy and Karsten have been rowing in the same sculling group for the last six years and it’s nice to have a fresh boat class to attack.”

The day opened with repechages for the Open Men’s and Women’s Singles, these were promptly followed by the race for lanes in the Open Women’s Coxless Pair. Melbourne University Boat Club’s Lucy Stephan paired up with Mercantile’s Charlotte Sutherland lead the race from start to finish. The two athletes who are currently vying for places in Australia’s Women’s Eight finished their race in a time of 7:26:85 in overcast conditions.

Fast racing conditions in the Open Men’s Coxless Pair race for lanes saw Australian Rowing Team members Spencer Turrin and Alexander Lloyd place first in what was a gruelling top three finish. Following Turrin and Lloyd over the line, just a second behind were Josh Hicks and Angus Moore while the third place went to Mosman Rowing Club’s Russian duo Grigori Shchulepov and Sasha Stradaev.

Later in the morning, the U19 Men’s Single Scull repechages also produced fast racing times. With five repechages, it was Matt Murray of Sydney University BC who took out the fastest race time, 7.35.19 and was one of 10 athletes to book a place in the semi-finals.

Tasmanian rowers featured strongly in the Open Lightweight Women’s Single Scull with Georgia Nesbitt and Annabel Gibson taking home first and second place in their heat. Queenslander and recent U23 Australian Rowing Team member, Amy James, was the fastest finisher in both heats with a time of 7:47.78. Tasmania’s Interstate Lightweight Quad for the Victoria Cup this Sunday will include Nesbitt, Gibson, Ella Flecker and Eve Mure and will surely be the ones to watch as they try and claim back-to-back titles.

The Open Women’s Quad event was a race for lanes, with the crews from Melbourne University Composite and Commercial Rowing Club Composite opting not to row the heat, leaving the Tasmanian composite crew from Buckingham RC and the TIS to win the event in 7:05:64.

It was likely to be an interesting race in the U23 Women’s Coxed Eight, last year Melbourne University BC claimed the top position, followed by University of Queensland. This year, the tables were turned with MUBC pushed into second and Mercantile RC’s crew, featuring a number of recent Junior Australian Rowing Team members, taking the win to secure a prime lane in the finals later this week.

In the afternoon, the U17 Women’s Coxed Quadruple Scull took to the water. With four heats in this boat class, only the top three of each booked semi-final places. The University of Queensland Composite posted the fastest qualifying time, 7.34.23, with Queenwood School the closest in time in the other heats.

The second heat of the U17 Men’s Coxed Quadruple Scull was certainly a race to be seen, with first, second and third place posting a time one tenth of a second apart. Newcastle Grammar snapped up the win, followed by Griffith University Surfers Paradise taking second and a place in the final. Unley High from South Australia were a mere 0.01 behind in third and will race the repechage late this week.

With the Open Lightweight events moved to today, it was Laura Dunn and Amy James in a Toowong-UTS composite crew that won the first heat of the Open Lightweight Women’s Double Scull, with Hong Kong’s Xiao Yu Yuan and Guo Ru Liang in second; both crew progress to the final. Meanwhile in the second heat, Janelle Austin and Maia Simmonds teamed up to win their heat and booked a place in the final alongside Vietnam’s Ta Than Huyan and Pham Thi Thao.

The remaining crews, including another Hong Kong entry, Indonesia and Thailand will head to the repechages later this week.

In the Men’s equivalent event, Perry Ward (Swan River RC) and James Wilson (Mercantile RC) teamed up to win their heat in a time of 6.50.71 and book a place in the final alongside Hong Kong’s Hin Chun Chiu and Chiu Mang Tang. In the other heat, the Day twins from Corio Bay, Tim and William, booked their place in the Final, followed by Hong Kong’s other entry in the category, Chun Shek Leung and Ki Cheong Kwan.