Sanita Puspure produced a gutsy performance in her World Rowing Championship women's single sculls heat but had to settle for second and a place in the repechage in Sarasota.

Puspure went off in the fourth and final heat in lane 2, quickly settling into a duel with Swiss rower Jeannine Gmelin.

Gmelin set a good pace, pulling two lengths clear of from Puspure at the halfway point in the scorching Florida sun. One of the favourites in this event, Gmelin looked to be cruising, but Puspure pushed her to the end, finishing strongly to eat into the gap coming home and give her plenty of encouragement for the rest of this championships.

Hannah Osborne of New Zealand was a distant third.

Women's single sculls, Heat 4: 1. Switzerland 7:26.22, 2. Ireland (S Puspure) 7:27.11, 3. New Zealand 7:47.33, 4. Latvia 8:11.56, 5. Bahamas 8:38.57

Earlier, Aileen Crowley and Aifric Keogh finished third in their women’s pair heat, well down on the American winners. They also must make do with a place in the repechage later in the week.

Women's pair, Heat 2: 1. USA 7:06.26, 2. Denmark 7:08.97, 3. Ireland (A Keogh/A Crowley) 7:29.53, 4. Italy 7:30.06, 5. China 7:40.37

Three Irish crews won their heats on a strong opening day on Sunday.

Skibbereen RC duo Shane O'Driscoll and Mark O'Donovan booked a spot in the lightweight men's pair A fina, easing home in first place with a cushion of over five seconds.

Their clubmate Paul O'Donovan also cruised to victory in Heat 3 of the lightweight men's single sculls to make the quarters.

Denise Walsh secured Ireland's third success of the afternoon with an impressive victory in the lightweight women's single sculls. She now looks towards the A/B semi-finals. 

Watch the World Rowing Championships on RTÉ2 on Thursday 28 September (3pm), Friday 29 September (4.30pm), Saturday 30 September (4.30pm) and Sunday 1 October (3.30pm)