London, UK (ISN) – Fast conditions and times highlighted the first day of the Paralympic rowing regatta at the Eton-Dorney course in England.

Both Canadian crews finished third in heats this morning. “Both boats raced well, and we know that we have to work on certain parts of their races to improve for the reps tomorrow,” said Rowing Canada Aviron lead Para-coach Jeff Dunbrack.

The LTA mixed coxed four crew of Anthony Theriault (Nanaimo, BC), David Blair (Ottawa, ON), Victoria Nolan (Toronto, ON), Meghan Montgomery (Winnipeg, MB) and coxswain Kristen Kit (St. Catharines, ON) were in a heat with the British home-crowd favourites.

Great Britain won in 3:23.59, the U.S. was second in 3:28.36, and then Canada not far off the pace in 3:29.69. France (3:32.25), Ireland (3:33.95) and Belarus (3:45.44) rounded out the six-boat heat.

“We knew we were closing in on the Americans but we need to put a better start together,” said Theriault, who is a two-time Paralympian. “We need to loop in all the facets of our race and make it count. We want to make that A Final – that is our main focus.”

In the other heat of this boat class, Germany set a world best time of 3:15.91, over six seconds faster than the previous best time – set in 2010 by Canada when this boat won the Worlds. Germany and Great Britain go directly to the final, and the rest of the boats, including Canada, row in a rep tomorrow to attempt to qualify for the A final and a chance at a medal.

British Columbian Joan Reid was also third in her heat earlier today. “It was a personal best for me by 13 seconds so I was happy with that,” she said after the race. “My plan was not to think about anyone else, just try to relax and run my own race. I had a really good finish. I was impressed with what I could do with a certain amount of adrenalin.”

Belarus won in 5:40.21 to go directly to the A final – Brazil was second in 5:41.38, and Reid of Canada third in 5:43.52. Korea (5:45.82) South Africa (6:02.38) and Hungary (6:31.85) followed.

Reigning World Champion Alla Lysenko of Ukraine won the other heat to advance to the arms-only women’s single final.

The Paralympic distance is 1000m, and conditions on the course today were sunny but cool with the tailwind assisting in the fast times.

Check out for results and reports.