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Island rowers make early splash at world championships

Lightweight rowing is known for its whiplash unpredictability.

Lightweight rowing is known for its whiplash unpredictability. Anything can happen, and usually does, which is why the Canadian women’s double crew of Victorians Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee were happy to win their preliminary race to start the 2015 world championships on lac d’Aiguebelette, France.

The worlds this year are also the official qualifier for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, so there is much at stake.

Jennerich and Obee, silver medallists at the 2014 world championships, are legitimate podium threats for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. But so are probably 10 other lightweight doubles crews, as attested by the Islanders’ startling drop to 14th place in the last World Cup series race.

The Islanders were in fourth place Sunday but rallied to row through three crews to take their opening race and advance to the world championship quarter-finals.

“Training has been going well, and all we did was execute what we have been working on in practice,” said Jennerich, in a statement through Rowing Canada.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We just have to relax and let the boat work for us,” said the veteran, who is a graduate of Claremont, while Obee graduated from Stelly’s.

Canada’s hopes in men’s rest with two Elk Lake-based crews. The four — consisting of Kai Langerfeld of Parksville, Tim Schrijver and 2012 London Olympics silver-medallists Conlin McCabe and Will Crothers — finished first in their preliminary race Sunday to advance to the semifinals.

The quad, however, was relegated to the repechage as Matt Buie, Julien Bahain, Will Dean and 2012 London silver-medallist Rob Gibson were third behind Germany and Lithuania.

Monday’s highlight was in the women’s eight, in which the touted London Olympic and 2014 world championship silver-medallist Canadian crew won its opening race to advance.

The world championship continues through the week in France, after which the field for Rio 2016 will mostly be set.