Australian Four set Olympic best - London 2012 - Rowing
The Australian men's Four laid down the gauntlet to their British rivals by setting a new Olympic best time as they qualified for Thursday's semi-final.
But the Australian crew, who won last month's Munich World Cup regatta, are now a real threat.
'To lay the heat out that way gives us some confidence and sets us right up for the rest of the week,' said Australian veteran Drew Ginn, who is chasing a fourth Olympic gold medal.
'We are trying to go out as fast as possible from stroke one. We are not playing games in races.'
Britain won their heat in commanding fashion and the USA also got their campaign off to a victorious start.
The other Olympic best time to fall on Day 3 went to Great Britain's Double Scull of Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins.
The gold medal favourites stormed into Friday's final ahead of defending champions New Zealand, who also qualified.
Australia's Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley also bettered the old best, which had stood for 20 years, in winning their heat ahead of Poland.
The men's Eight final line-up was completed with Great Britain winning the repechage ahead of reigning champions Canada, who also qualified along with Netherlands and Australia.
The quartet joined favourites Germany, who are unbeaten since 2009, and the USA in the final after they qualified directly from the heats.
New Zealand were on course to qualify until they suffered a broken oar with around 400m to go, allowing Great Britain back into the race.