That was quite a day in St. Catharines! Some good, some not so good, and lots of room to get faster!
1. The Senior Man’s quad and Lauren both won their heats and won bronze medals in the final. Well done to both!
2. Shout out to the junior men’s quad and junior women’s eight who both made the final. I felt really bad for the guys. Once they got their unisuits on the right way following the heat, they went out and faced conditions that were, for novices, almost unrowable. Experience is valuable when in water like that and we didn’t have experience. While those other crews were very good, our boys stroke deficiencies were exposed in conditions like that, as we would expect. But to their credit, they fought as hard as they could right to the end and didn’t give in. You guys WILL get better as time goes on and you are to be applauded for your effort yesterday.
I loved what the junior women’s eight did yesterday. Some adversity off the start in the heat thanks to a big crab, found them dead last in the race. They started to row and by the island, were rowing really nicely, moving fast and were gaining on third. At the end, they were two seconds off second place and earned a spot in the final. In that final, they easily beat the crew who beat them by 2 seconds and were not far back of fourth or third. A really good performance by a crew with 6 novices. You guys WILL get faster and you’ll be fun to watch this season!!! Lots of character in there and a great spirit among the crew!
3. I thought the coxies did a fantastic job. As Sadie will tell you, it’s not easy to steer in flat, calm conditions, let alone in big crosswinds and current like yesterday. But from what I could see, the coxies did a great job steering the race course. In many ways, the first races for coxies are MORE difficult than for the rowers. Before racing, there’s always a coach beside the boat, who always spends WAY more time coaching the rowers than coaching the coxswains. As a result, the regatta comes along and they’re now suddenly on their own, in a confined space with crews on either side, and expected to execute the entire 17-page race plan that the coach has given them, to perfection. All the while, having to steer a foreign course with a big current and having to make calls for a whole 2K race without any coaching help. It’s not easy! I saw our novvie coxies with notes, which makes me happy! I thought they were really good yesterday.
4. You are all to be applauded—parents and rowers—for the spirit you showed yesterday. Especially the Moms, who gave up their special day to be with us on Henley Island. Every time I looked up during rigging, I saw experienced rowers being really helpful with the novices. I have to give shout outs to Meegan, Victoria, Tristan, Allie, and Katie. Seemed like every time I turned around, they were carrying blades or helping lift boats. The teamwork was awesome! Elements of leadership like this are vital to an overall winning environment.
THE NOT SO GOOD
1. I think we all felt a bit of a knot in the pit of the stomach when we realized that the J59kg4+ missed the final by 3 seconds and the J63kg4+ missed by 5. Two finals by a grand total of 8 seconds is tough. But the effort was good and the good news is, there is LOTS of room for both to get a lot better. We will do this.
2. We (the collective “we”…me included), need to be better at making sure boats get checked before we race. We had three incidents where we should have put them on stretchers and checked them (this should be a normal occurrence anyway, even if they’ve been rowed already). The JW8+ had a loose rigger backstay, the JM4+ had a big bolt pop off, and the SW634+ had the feet stuck. Moving forward, both crew and coach will endeavour to remember to do this.
3. Continuing with this theme, I’ll need the coxies to remember to get either the cox box or the cox vox + surge coach. Totally understandable to forget it yesterday with all that was going on—I did too. But let’s both be better at remembering in Welland.
4. We all need to be better to make sure we meet pre-race and post-race. If it’s a busy time when you come off the water, stay around until I’ve met with you. On the day sheet (which was posted on the side of the trailer and will also be there for Welland and CSSRA), there will be a “Meeting Time”, “Launch Time” and “Race Time” listed. I will also get Dina to post one in the tent so parents and athletes will know what time I want them there. I didn’t enforce it yesterday as I should have, so it’s on me too.
5. Final thing we all need to be better at is the warmup. I’ll be posting a set pre-launch warmup. When you put hands on the boat, your muscles should be warm and limber.
Again….this is NOT a criticism of anybody. If anything, it’s on me for not making sure it happened consistently yesterday. But moving forward, we will be better at all of this.
Finally, remember that Excellence is created by daily high standards in everything we do from the moment you show up at rowing until the time you leave. We have three weeks and 6 days from the moment this post hits the blog until the end of the season. Yep. That’s right. The season is done in three weeks and 6 days. In those 27 days, you will experience three more regattas, a BIG uptick in skill, and a BIG uptick in speed.
WE GOT THIS!!!!!!