By Mike Rowbottom

GB rowing_four_5_MayMay 4 - Great Britain's newly constituted men's four (pictured top), made up of Olympic champions Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom James and world champion Alex Gregory, raced together for the first time today at the World Cup in Belgrade, easing to victory in its heat.

"So much more to come as it's really early days for us," Reed posted on Twitter.

"Technique, strategy, tactics, crew dynamics and fitness will all develop."

Seven of the British crews went straight through to finals in what is the first of three World Cup regattas before the summer's Games.

Defending Olympic lightweight double scullers Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter, who came back last year to win the world title despite struggling with injury and illness, and Olympic gold medal hopefuls Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins, also moved comfortably through.

Britain has sent a 57-strong team, made up of 23 women and 34 men, to Serbia and barring injury or loss of form the squad is likely to remain unchanged for the Olympics.

Heather Stanning_and_Helen_Glover_5_May
Britain's men eight, without world under-23 champion Constantine Louloudis because of a back injury, held off a late surge from Poland to win its heat and reach Sunday's final.

Other Britons to progress with heat victories were world bronze medallist single sculler Alan Campbell, world silver medallists in the pair Helen Glover and Heather Stanning (pictured above), lightweight pair Paul Mattick and Adam Freeman-Pask, men's pair world under-23 champion George Nash and William Satch, and lightweight single Kathryn Twyman.

The women's quad, the men's lightweight four and the double sculls of Bill Lucas and Sam Townsend, and Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland, were also victorious to take the British tally to 13 heat wins on day one.

Last year's world bronze medallists Australia, considered to be one of Britain's main rivals for Olympic gold in London, have decided not to attend the event.

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