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Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins Smash Olympic Record

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Published on Jul 30, 2012

The wait for Katherine Grainger is almost at an end. With a superlative exhibition of sculling alongside Anna Watkins the three time Olympic silver medallist propelled Great Britain into Friday final of the womens double by shattering the Olympic record. Pushed by a helpful tailwind at Dorney Lake Grainger and Watkins laid down their credentials for gold with an exceptionally dominant display.

The duo have been unbeaten in the double sculls for two years and showed why here, eclipsing nearest challengers New Zealand by three lengths as they established an Olympic best time of 6min 44.33sec, beating the previous standard by almost five seconds With a strong, confident leg drive and beautiful sculling stroke, well drilled by coach Paul Thompson, they set off at a prodigious pace and maintained a rate of 33 strokes per minute to build an insurmountable lead.

The determination etched on Grainger's face spoke of a woman on a mission. It had been thought that the British women's pair of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were the country's strongest favourites for gold, but on this evidence Scotland's Grainger looked almost certain to end her 12 years of Olympic frustration after three successive silvers. Their main rivals, Australia's Kim Crow and Brooke Patley, also dipped under the old Olympic record but were still four seconds slower. Grainger has spoken eloquently of the "overwhelming" pressure she is dealing with at these London Games, and handled the burden expertly in this emphatic victory in the heat.

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