DORNEY LAKE, ENGLAND -- After a disappointing heat Saturday, Weston rower Nick LaCava and his boatmates in the U.S. lightweight men's four had a dramatic turnaround Sunday.

LaCava -- with mates William Newell, Anthony Fahden and Robin Prendes -- blasted past their competition to easily win the repechage and advance to Tuesday's semifinals. The final takes place Thursday.

The U.S. crew known as the "Ivy League 4" -- LaCava's fellow rowers come from Harvard, Columbia and Princeton -- won the race in 6:00.86, with Italy finishing second in 6:01.66 and the Czech Republic third in 6:02.23.

"We were just trying to improve on our race from yesterday," said the 25-year-old. "Yesterday we had a really slow start and so that was one of our main focuses today and it went a lot better. Then we just really focused on the process.

Fahden explained that the crew had a "little pow wow" Saturday night to get things straightened out.

"I think we were just lucky our bad day was just early in the regatta and hopefully we don't have any more," he said. "We basically just chalked it up to a subpar piece; it happens occasionally. It's just unfortunate that it happened at the Olympics. Will was making some good calls. We just tried to be a little lighter on the catch. I think yesterday we did some things that were a little clumsy."

LaCava emphasized how tough Olympic competition can be, and that he and his mates have to find a way to be at their best every time out if they want to be competitive.

"We knew it was going to be a close race," said LaCava, who attended schools in Weston through eighth grade before going to Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., through high school.

"Everyone here is really good, so we were just focusing on a good race and making it through," he said.