Lisa Carrington has produced a searing start to her Olympic campaign to underline why she is the hottest of Kiwi favourites.
The three-time Olympic canoe sprint medallist blitzed the field in her K1 200m heats before linking with Caitlin Regal for a second triumph in the K2 500m, advancing straight to the semifinals in both events.
Carrington, who is competing in four disciplines this week, could leave Tokyo as New Zealand's most successful Olympian, needing two medals to match the five won by paddlers Ian Ferguson and Paul MacDonald and equestrian Sir Mark Todd.
And the 32-year-old made the perfect start to that quest today, beginning a busy week with a pair of straightforward victories.
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A two-time defending Olympic champion in the K1 200m, Carrington recorded the fastest time and the biggest winning margin among the five heats across the shorter distance. The Kiwi started strongly out of the gates and soon separated her boat from her rivals, stopping the clock at 40.715 seconds.
Trailing in her wake was Russian Svetlana Chernigovskaya, second in a time of 41.540s, while the second-fastest qualifier from the heats was Teresa Portela of Spain (40.812s).
Carrington needed only a top-two finish to avoid adding a quarter-final to her gruelling schedule and that was never really in doubt, given she is unbeaten in the shortest canoe sprint distance for a decade.
The outcome wasn't initially quite as certain in the K2 500m but Carrington quickly ensured it was exactly the same.
Back on the water at Sea Forest Waterway barely 90 minutes after her first race, Carrington linked with Regal to win their heat by more than second.
The New Zealand pair were in an early duel with the German boat but had pulled clear by the halfway point, increasing their lead to more than a boat length before easing off to cruise across the finish line.
Carrington and Regal's time of 1:43.836s was the third-fastest among the four heats, trailing Hungary and Belarus, but the Kiwis gave the impression they had left plenty in the tank.
Avoiding the added workload of the quarter-finals was crucial for Carrington's chances of winning multiple medals, given she is facing the prospect for four races in little more than three hours tomorrow.
The K1 200m semifinals are set to start at 12.30pm with the final following at 2.37pm, while the K2 500m semifinals are from 1.23pm before the final at 3.46pm.
New Zealand will have two boats in those latter races after Alicia Hoskin and Teneale Hatton advanced from this afternoon's quarter-finals.
The pair finished fourth in their heat earlier in the day and recorded the same position in the second-chance race but that was still good enough to secure a semifinal spot.
Hoskin and Hatton stopped the clock in a time of 1:50.507s, marginally slower than what they managed in the heats, and were more than two seconds ahead of the fifth-placed Danes.
Hoskin and Hatton were competing together at an international event for the first time and expectations were low, with the duo having a greater focus on the K4 500m discipline in which they will join Carrington and Regal.
But the pair will be delighted to reach the semifinals before their K4 campaign begins on Friday.