Britain won two golds on the first day of finals at the European Rowing Championships ©Getty Images

Britain edged out Romania to win a thrilling men's eight final at the European Rowing Championships in the Slovenian town of Bled.

Just 0.05sec separated the two teams across the finish line on the 2,120-metre Lake Bled course, but it was Britain who held off a sprint from Romania to triumph in a photo finish with a time of 5min 28.09sec.

The Netherlands had looked Britain's most likely challengers for most of the race, but had to settle for bronze in 5:28.61.

It was one of two golds for Britain on the first day of finals, with world champions Emily Craig and Imogen Grant defending their European crown in the lightweight women's double sculls in 6:52,32.

Dimitra Eleni Kontou and Zoi Fitsiou of Greece were second in 6:54.78, and bronze went to France's Laura Tarantola and Claire Bove in 6:55,30.

Britain were denied victory in the opening final of the day, with Romania finishing strongly to set a new European Championships record of 6:22.90 en route to gold, denying their closest challengers by 1.03sec.

The Netherlands staved off Denmark to take bronze at more than four seconds off the pace.

Ukraine impressed in the women's quadruple sculls final to take gold in 6:19.12, finishing more than one second clear of the Dutch and more than three seconds ahead of the British teams.

The men's equivalent race brought joy for Poland, who notched a time of 5:40.24 to finish on top of the podium in front of The Netherlands and defending champions Italy.

Jan Schäuble and Raphaël Ahumada built on a bronze medal last year to dominate the men's lightweight double sculls final for Switzerland in 6:13.81.

Stefano Oppo and Gabriel Soares earned silver for Italy in 6:15.06, with Petros Gkaidatzis and Antonios Papakonstantinou of Greece coming through in 6:15.99 for third.

In the Para rowing events, reigning world and Para rowing champion Birgit Skarstein of Norway earned her third consecutive European title in the PR1 women's singles sculls in 10:05.80, with Moran Samuel of Israel holding on for silver in 10:07.97 at the expense of France's Nathalie Benoit, who clocked 10:08.36.

The defending champion Giacamo Pernini of Italy proved too strong in the PR1 men's singles sculls, posting a time of 8:55.08 to beat Ukraine's world and Paralympic gold medallist Roman Polianskyi by 5.11sec.

Marcus Klemp of Germany rounded off the top three in 9:28.26.

Guylaine Marchand and Laurent Cadot were the other gold medal winners on the first day of finals, triumphing in the PR3 mixed double sculls in 7:35.81 ahead of the 7:37.69 from Ukraine's Dariia Kotyk and Stanislav Samoliuk and 7:43.68 from Annabel Caddick and Samuel Murray of Britain.

The European Rowing Championships is due to conclude in Bled tomorrow.