Sanita Puspure took third place in seven minutes 49.35 seconds in the women's single sculls rowing heats to claim a place in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The Latvian-born Puspure started brightly to lie at the head of affairs from Emma Twigg but the New Zealander eventually hit the front, with Donata Vistartaite taking over in second.

Twigg’s winning time of 7:40.24 was three seconds ahead of Vistartaite and nine ahead of Puspure's 7:49.35, with the Irish rower well clear of Brazil’s Kissya Da Costa. 

Elsewhere, the British pair of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning set a Games record in their heat, to confirm their status as favourites to win their country's first Olympic gold medal for a women's crew.

British women rowers have won a string of silver and bronze medals at the last two Olympics but are still waiting to claim their first gold, with Glover and Stanning in prime position after they won three out of three international races this year.

The performance follows a stunning few years for the pair and reflects the strength of the British system, with Glover only starting to row four years ago after being picked out as someone with potential for her 178 cm height.

On Saturday, they opened the Olympic regatta at Dorney Lake under clear blue skies and on mill-pond water with a slight tail wind, leading from the start with an effortless, long style which allowed them to control the race until the end.

Despite appearing to be racing quite comfortably, they beat the previous Olympic record of seven minutes and one second set in 1996 with their time of 6:57, perhaps also helped by the warm water underneath.

The United States also pipped the old record to finish second and they will both go straight through to the final on Wednesday.

"It was a solid performance," said Stanning after coming off the water. "We were controlled in our boat. This was the biggest crowd ever, it was a fantastic lovely atmosphere (but) we were very much in our boat.

"We had trained with our coach shouting through a megaphone and all the staff making noises around us."