Westdale Secondary School Rowing

Information for the Westdale Secondary School Rowing Community

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Peter has asked me to post this letter to the blog.

Dear Athletes and parents,
I never thought this day would ever come, however here it is. Due to my employment situation with the HWDSB and many other factors too, including to and primarily the continued non existent and dysfunctional relationship I currently have with the club and not being able to coach the juniors, I will not be in a position to be a teacher rep or coach with Westdale rowing next year or anytime in the foreseeable future. My coaching career in rowing in Hamilton is pretty much over. This past winter has been a very difficult time for me both physically and mentally because of the events that occurred with the Club. I returned this past fall to help Westdale Rowing very reluctantly and only because of two or three athletes who I respected had directly contacted me hoping to get me back after being forced to quit coaching at the club in the fall. Out of respect for them as athletes and people I made the decision to return. I have been part of Westdale rowing for over 8 years and for the most part enjoyed my time here as a coach and teacher representative. I started with my daughter’s rowing career then only being a parent and coach boat driver. I progressed to Train to Train coach with my first crews becoming highly successful athletes and rowers through the past four years. My highest achievements in terms of athlete development and success as a coach have been in rowing, I was looking to continue this endevour but under the current conditions I am forced to step away from it. Returning to the club this spring with Westdale was extremely stressful and only confirmed my worst fears of being ostracized within the club. I knew then, that my position and reputation there had been irrevocably and unfairly damaged and would make further coaching there extremely uncomfortable and difficult. I cannot express in word my great sadness and hurt regarding this whole situation. It has truly destroyed my soul and left a huge hole in my heart. I have not made this decision lightly, this has been one of the toughest decisions I have ever made, however my personal and family life has suffered terribly because of this and I must make the decision to preserve whatever dignity and reputation I have left, and move on with my life. I will be returning to my hockey roots in coaching next fall and I have accepted a position with a Bantam A Rep girl’s team and helping with a house league team at my old home rink at Coronation where I am wanted and my coaching credentials and abilities are without question.
I started coaching rowing at South Niagara Rowing Club earlier this year in the spring as a guest coach with some of their high school teams. I found the club a very welcoming environment and a much more relaxed atmosphere for me. The athletes there are extremely coachable and I had one junior crew ask me to be their coach after one practice. I gladly accepted the opportunity to start a new beginning there with them. This also allowed the easy transition in to being the summer U17 Junior women’s coach which was offered to me so I will continue coaching there for as long as they will have me and that looks to be for quite some time at this point. SNRC will be my new home rowing club.
To those people who have supported me and reached out to me during this time, I wish to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a friend when friends were hard to find; for believing in me when others bailed or left me to dangle in the wind. To those athletes who trusted me with helping them find their new level of success and skills, keep working at it, I still believe that you can do it, I always have. I just wont be there to watch or help, that alone is my saddest heartache, it’s what hurts the most. Work left undone. I know I have left a strong legacy in the small boats and sculling programs and I hope that it continues. Please keep being the awesome people you have shown me in practice, competition or on the docks. I have had the honour and privilege to work with the finest people I know, and that is YOU! I worked with amazing, and we did that daily at Westdale Rowing.
Finally I wish to extend a special heartfelt thank you to Charlotte and Gillian for wanting me as their coach for their double this spring. They asked me if I would be their coach early on and for me it was an easy yes. It is a decision I have not regretted. I was privileged and honoured to have them as my last official Westdale crew. Gilly brought the sandpaper and willingness to learn and get good at sculling, even rowing a singles race after only being in it twice for practice. Charlotte brought the light and happy hearted competence allowing Gillian to find her comfort in rowing again and stepping up her own sculling skills learned in the summer with me rowing singles. Each brought the effort and commitment to their boat. They gave me everything I asked of them but more importantly they put the fun back in coaching for me and that I still had the ability to be a good coach. Their trust in me and willingness to give it their very best will never be forgotten. Most of all I am forever grateful for your laughter, joy and energy you brought to practices and competition, from the bottom of my heart thank you! Your Mother’s day performance gave you a real eye opener to how much you have progressed with rowing a double and your sculling technique. CSSRA was your best race by far! You put it down! The Quad really showcased yours and you two crew mates the skills you all possessed. Just missed finals by a second!!! Gilly and Charlie, my Royal Double, you two were just amazing! This will never be forgotten. Let’s Bo Peep this…. Good luck with your rowing this summer you two! Remember the three bees, but mostly the silent one, because that’s what you both are!
I leave you in the very capable hands of your coaches for the future.
Best regards Pete

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In a decision that was about as difficult to make as any, I’m going to have to step aside from Westdale Rowing. My freelance career has happily gotten busier. Unfortunately, the flip side of that is that busy freelancing means more work in Toronto, making coaching early mornings in Hamilton unsustainable. Add to that, 90% of my regular work shifts locally are late night, and this became the only option.

I will be forwarding a document with some recommendations to Mike, Victoria and Madison who will hopefully all be able to continue on. And if Meegan and Lucas are able to help in the spring, the program will be in GREAT hands!!

While there are still hills to climb and successes yet to achieve, I believe that we’ve made some progress over the last number of years. It’s been a great pleasure to watch the development of our athletes from raw novices into accomplished, dedicated rowers with a passion for their sport. But there’s something more than that. Sport DOES shape in some way, who we become as human beings, and to watch our athletes compete and carry themselves, to mature into leaders before our very eyes, to be able to manage their lives and balance the rigours of study, rowing and “life” to an astronomically high level, has been pretty amazing.


Tom Beshoff

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Hope exams are going well. I’ve been asked by Ms. Tonogai about the pictures posted on Twitter. I know Mike posted a couple, but some were posted under ‘Westdale Athletics’ and we don’t know who that is. She wants to use some of them as part of the wall mural and would like permission. Anyone who knows, please contact me (or Ms. Tonogai)

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Well done top everybody who pulled 2Ks today—there were numerous PBs achieved—in fact, 10 of the thirteen who pulled set personal bests!!

GEON: PB by 2.1 seconds
SEQUOIA: PB by 0.1 second
MADDY D: PB by 9.8 seconds
RYANN: PB by 11.7 seconds
LIV: PB by 11 seconds
DAVIN: PB by 18.3 seconds
LACHLAN: PB by 3.2 seconds
QUIN: PB by 25.5 seconds
EMMA: PB by 14.4 seconds
GRACE: PB by 5.3 seconds

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I will be at the club on FRIDAY (JUNE 7), at 4PM for those who wish to pull a final 2K for the high school season. This is highly recommended because in most cases, PBs are smashed by MANY seconds, given the fact we’ve been focusing on speedwork on the water for so many weeks. It is a GREAT way to head into the summer, regardless of whether you plan on rowing or not.

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As with every other year, it amazes me how quickly it all comes to an end suddenly. I said to my wife this morning, that it feels like I’ve been on a train going 200 kilometres and hour for the past 7 weeks, and I suddenly jumped off it last night!

It was a fun night last night, and I want to thank you all for the very generous gifts at the end of the night! Many of you came up to me and thanked me for the work we did, but I want to turn that around and thank the athletes. I’ve often said that we provide the road map, but it’s the athletes who undertake the journey and do the hard yards. As you reflect on your seasons, remember the things that make this sport great: fitness, discipline, pushing yourself to a higher level, competitive spirit and working as part of a team. These are ALL attributes that will come into play to help you, either in the coming years as you advance through high school, or as you leave these walls and venture out to bigger and better things.

For those not graduating, let’s move up to the next level starting in November.

For those graduating, it’s been my honour to have coached you, and I can’t think of a better group of five athletes to have been mentor and coach to than Fiora, Katie Mac, Becca, Maddy B and Chloe. Some of you may have noticed that I shake a lot of people’s hands at regattas and even get the occasional hug. Those same people are people I learned from and have known for decades….and they’re watching to see how I’m passing on their knowledge to you. When we walk down to the dock, I know many of you feel like you’re in a fishbowl. You are. But so are we, because our athletes are a reflection of us and of our coaching methods. MANY of those folks have commented on how well you row, how professional, well-mannered and disciplined not only you guys have been, but your predecessors. You are a tremendous source of pride to us in how you’ve conducted yourselves as Westdale Warrior rowers and I will miss you all immensely.