Lukas Babac of Slovakia did his country proud by winning the lightweight men's single sculls on a day of four finals on the second day of the World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne.
Babac has thus medalled at each World Rowing regatta so far this season, taking gold at World Rowing Cup I in Bled, silver at the European Rowing Championships and, in Varese, at World Rowing Cup II, another silver medal.
He took the lead from the start, and at the halfway mark New Zealand’s Adam Ling seemed to have secured second position. But, with 250 metres left to row, Serbia’s Milos Stanojevic made his move up from third and took the silver-medal position ahead of New Zealand.
Babac crossed the line with a clear-water lead in gold.
“I didn’t feel good this morning in the semi-final - but I felt much better to win the final,” said Babac.
New Zealand’s Zoe McBride, who set a world best time in the lightweight women’s single sculls at World Rowing Cup II in Varese, took an early lead which she never relinquished.
Denmark’s Runge Homegaard held second place until the final 250m, where she was overtaken by Britain’s Imogen Walsh, the European champion.
But the Kiwi was a comprehensive winner, finishing three lengths clear.
“I raced today as if it was a new day, without thinking about the world record,” she said.
“We start the double on Monday and we only have eight days to make it right for the under-23s in Plovdiv.
"I look forward to it.”
Walsh commented: “To win any is something you have to be proud of and i am really pleased with this one.
"But as an athlete my goal is always to win gold.
"I will know if I stay in the single after this regatta.
The biggest shock of the day came for Britain's London 2012 champion Katherine Grainger and Vicky Thornley, who have already won European and World Cup bronze this season.
Thornley caught a boat-stopping crab eight strokes into their semi-final.
The British combination never recovered and finished fifth, which means they are in the B-final.
Britain’s pair of Matthew Tarrant and Callum McBrierty, who had finished sixth at the World Cup in Varese, found the inspiration to finish five lengths ahead of their only opponents in the men’s coxed pair, Germany.
It was a fine way to celebrate Tarrant’s 25th birthday.
Britain’s Jonathan Clegg and Sam Scrimgeour had to give best to the Italian crew of Petru Zaharia and Armando Dell’Aquila, who moved past them in an extended battle over the final 250m to win the lightweight men’s pair.
The Britons, who were part of the lightweight men’s four that finished fourth in the Euopean Championships, had taken an early lead ahead of Italy and the Danish pairing of Emil Espensen and Steffen Jensen, but were ultimately unable to hold it and settled for silver.
The French crew of Augustin Mouterde and Theophile Onfroy took gold at the World Rowing Cup in Varese and silver at the European Rowing Championships this year were surprisingly only able to manage fourth place.
“Britain was fast at the start, we attacked at the 1,000 metres and then it was really side by side,” said Zaharia.
“I didn’t know if we had won until we got to the pontoon.”
July 2015: British and German flagship eights on collision course at Lucerne World Rowing Cup
July 2015: British men’s eight earn early revenge over Germany in Varese Rowing World Cup II
July 2015: McBride beats 21-year-old world best at Varese World Rowing Cup
July 2015: Croatia’s world champion Sinkovic brothers back with a bang at Varese Rowing World Cup
May 2015: Britain dominate European Rowing Championships but Germany regain bragging rights in men's eight