Shaun Keeling and Lawrence Brittain admitted they needed to handle the conditions better in the next round, after getting the SA rowing team’s Olympic campaign off to a positive start at Lagoa Stadium, in Rio, on Saturday.
The men’s pair finished second in their first-round heat in 6:41.42, crossing the line 0.63m behind the Australian duo of Spencer Turrin and Alexander Lloyd, as they progressed automatically to Tuesday’s semifinals.
“Obviously we wanted to win, and we were leading in the beginning after a really good start, but the conditions got on top of us in the middle and we lost it a bit,” said Keeling.
“We got back on it and came back in the end, but the Aussies got on it earlier.
“We’re relatively happy, but you’ve got to win on any day in any conditions.”
Brittain said they would need to find a way to push through the choppy conditions, which pushed them back after the 500m mark of the 2 000m contest, if they hoped to contend for a medal next week.
“It’s wild. We knew the wind was going to be big in Rio, and we practised a bit, but we don’t usually race in conditions like that,” Brittain said.
“So we’ve definitely got some work to do in the middle of the race through the rough, but otherwise not a bad start for us.”
The other four boats in the SA team, competing in the women’s pair, men’s and women’s lightweight double and men’s four divisions, were set to compete in their first-round heats on Sunday.