WINDSOR, England -- Canada and the United States qualified for the final of the women's eight by winning their heats Sunday, setting up what should be one of the top showdowns of the Olympic rowing regatta.
Canada easily won their 1,500-metre heat in six minutes 13.91, well ahead of Romania (6:16.61) and the Netherlands (6:18.98) in the three-boat race.
The U.S., unbeaten in six years, also cruised in their heat to win by more than six seconds in 6:14.68 ahead of Germany and Britain.
The spotlight will be on both countries during the final Thursday. Canada was edged out of a medal four years ago in Beijing with a fourth-place finish.
"You can only measure against your competition at the time. You would think based on history that the Americans would be in the final, but we hope to be right there with them," said coxswain Leslie Thompson-Willie.
The defending Olympic double sculls champions from Australia easily won their repechage Sunday to reach the semifinals.
David Crawshay and Scott Brennan surprisingly finished fourth in their heat on Saturday, forcing them to row an extra race, but they won by two lengths at a sunny Dorney Lake to reach Tuesday's semifinals.
They'll be joined by Michael Braithwaite of Duncan, B.C., and Kevin Kowalyk of Winnipeg, who advanced with a third-place finish.
Douglas Vandor of Dewittville, Que., and Morgan Jarvis of Clearwater Bay, Ont., were third in lightweight men's double sculls and will next compete in a repechage Tuesday.
Victoria's Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee finished fifth in lightweight women's double sculls to move to Tuesday's repechage.
"This is the biggest event I've raced in," said Jennerich. "The race plan was good. It was good to have a heat to see where we need to improve on. A few corrections will make a big difference."
The U.S. won the repechage in the lightweight men's four, advancing to the semifinals with Italy and Czech Republic.
-- The Canadian Press