TOM Lucy stormed into the semi-finals at the world rowing championships as his GB eight rowed down Poland to win their five-boat qualifier in Munich yesterday.

"That was a step on from the heat where we blasted off and ran out of gas," said the 19-year-old from Llangovan near Raglan after making it through to the last 12.

"This time we controlled the first 1,000m a bit more and then just powered through. We had a different race plan after the heat, not to overcook the start too much.

"First time up, we went a length out in front and didn't have enough to hang on. We knew that we had to have enough to finish the race off and this time we had loads in the tank.

"The Poles led us through the halfway mark, but we were rowing long and solid and I knew we'd come through them."

The GB crew had Cardiff substitute Tom James on board in the bow seat after Tom Parker fell ill.

But former Monmouth School pupil Lucy said it made no difference to the boat speed having the Cambridge Boat Race Blue in the crew.

"He's a great oarsmen and slotted into the rhythm perfectly," said Lucy of his 23-year-old fellow Welshman, who won silver subbing in GB's world champion four last month at the Lucerne World Cup regatta. "The boat felt really smooth and rhythmic."

GB came home in five minutes 44.58 seconds to win by a length from the Poles, who beat Belarus by three-quarters of a length.

The first three qualified for Friday's semi-finals, while New Zealand and 2006 world silver medallists Italy were eliminated.

Lucy's crew were just 0.17 seconds slower than Olympic champions America, who won the other repechage, the US going through with Switzerland and France.

Those six join heat qualifiers Germany, Australia, Canada, Holland, Russia and China in Friday's semis, with the finals set for Sunday.

"The boat's going really well, and there's everything to play for," said Lucy.

Meanwhile, Monmouth Rowing Club's Robin Williams had more success with his GB lightweight charges.

The former Cambridge Boat Race coach from Chepstow saw his lightweight men's double Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter win their six-boat quarter-final, while his lightweight quadruple scull containing Llandaff's Dave Currie won their repechage to make Sunday's final and the lightweight women's double finished first to make their semi-final.

His World Cup champion men's lightweight four saw victory snatched on the line by Canada in their quarter-final but still comfortably qualified in second.