FINALLY!!!! After 6 long months of winter training and spring on-water training, it’s time to go racing!! The first regatta of the year for a select group of experienced rowers, is this Sunday in Buffalo at the John Bennett Regatta. With border issues being what they are, there is no obligation to attend, but if you’re free and wish to go and watch, you are most welcome! Remember that crossing the border means passport required, and letters needed if going over with friends. One day of travel insurance is a great idea as well. I have posted information from the regatta with directions to West Side Rowing Club in Buffalo should any wish to attend.
Parking is located at Front Park and La Salle Park. A shuttle bus will be driving around the locations. Links are provided here:
West Side Rowing Club Inc, Porter Avenue, Buffalo, NY
La Salle Park
Spectating will be viewed on the WS Lawn but I recommend telling parents and spectators to go on the new Observation Tower and bike path. From there the course is visible from start to finish. There is a lower path that is on the last 500 meters and an upper path that leads to the tower. The path is accessible from Porter Ave and the view is great!
Following the Bennett Regatta, we are into our Full-Squad Regattas! I’ve been busy doing entries for these and will post them in the week leading up to the event, along with other information. For the Mothers Day Regatta, most novices can expect to race in one event (which could be two races–a heat and a final). Most seniors will have two events, which could be as many as four races (2 x heat & final). This is a LONG day–we expect the athletes to be in St. Catharines for about 7am for unloading the trailer and rigging the boats. A nice touch for this regatta has the mothers of the rowers presenting the medals to their sons and daughters—-so every crew will be instructed to RACE HARD FOR MOM!!!!!!!! The final races of the day go off around 5PM. De-rigging boats and loading the trailer back up will happen through the day, as boat requirement dictates. The club has not decided yet, when unloading the trailer and rigging will occur back at the club. We may do it on Sunday night after the regatta, or we may do it the following morning. We know it’s Mothers Day, but please plan for a late dinner that day!!!
From Mothers Day, it’s on to Welland for the South Niagara High School Invitational Regatta, the two day event over Victoria Day Weekend (May 20-21). The goal is to get all our athletes into at least three events total. Some will likely have four, which means (hopefully), a heat and a final. Given that the start line is 3.5km from the launch dock, every race you are in is a 7K row. If you are in 2 events and make two finals, that is 4 races in one day, which is 28KM! Coaches love this regatta because the hope is for our athletes get in a lot of rowing!!! Again, the trailer will be loaded over the course of the regatta as the use of a boat ends. We will likely unload and rig at the club on the Sunday night. For the women, you will be off on Monday morning.
After South Niagara, the next regatta on our schedule, is the Hamilton City Champs. This is a fun day for all. Last year, Westdale won the team title which was great….but a victory that was marred somewhat, by some poor sportsmanship. Celebration is fine, but flaunting it, being obnoxious towards our fellow schools, and trash talking will not be tolerated. This goes for all the time, but do the things and say the things that earn respect. It would be GREAT to win again, MINUS the flurry of e-mails and texts that reached my phone at the end of that day!!!!
After South Niagara, it’s on to the final regatta of the season, the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Championships (CSSRA). This is a HUGE regatta, with every province in Canada represented. There are over 2,000 rowers who go to St. Catharines to compete. It is big stuff! It is what we trained for and all our efforts from the first time I met many of you on Hallowe’en morning until now, have been geared towards. This is a 3-day regatta, running Friday, Saturday and Sunday June 2, 3, 4. Friday is entirely heats for events with more than 22 entries will have heats on Friday, progressing to a Saturday semi-final, progressing to a Sunday final. Events with less than 22 entries will have heats on Saturday progressing to a Sunday final. There are usually no events with a straight final. Athletes are allowed in a maximum of two events and our goal is to get as many of you in two as possible. Those not racing Friday will be requested NOT to be in St. Catharines that day, especially if the weather is hot. For experienced rowers, a couple of different things to note this year. First, Sunday finals will be starting at 8:30, with the last races wrapping up in the early afternoon. Given that our season-ending gathering is usually that Sunday night, there will not be a race back to Hamilton on the Sunday night! Also, we are considering making the Thursday trip to St. Catharines a seniors-only trip to offload the boats, rig ’em and rack ’em.
So ENJOY the regattas! It is what we trained for. There are just 33 days left in our rowing season. That’s 4 weeks and 5 days. Put everything you can into these remaining practices and races.