Westdale Rowing Community

Information for the Westdale Rowing Community

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Training Through the Rest of this Week

We are in the last few days of the season with CSSRA this weekend.   It is important to understand what we are doing the rest of this week.   Please read carefully.

PHOTO ID. Absolutely needed. PHOTO ID. Absolutely needed. On every day you go to the course.


tomorrow is the last on the water practice at Leander.   You need to be prepared to do a number of tasks tomorrow.

  First and foremost tomorrow practice is extremely short.   You need to have your boat launched and on the water by 5:15 AM.   If you do not then you and your crew  do not go out.   This means you must be down by at 4:50 AM to make this occur. 

Also you know your boat assignments so please do not be asking the coaches questions.   Close to 20 minutes each day (and we’ve timed this) is spent answering questions for which you already know the answer or you were not present when the issue was discussed with your crew. 

Any questions tomorrow will automatically exclude you and the crew from practicing.  Above all do not approach us with requests to row a double,quad, single, or any other boat.   You have a crew.   If you do make such a request than you and your crew will not go out.

You will be derigging tomorrow and loading the trailer.  No exceptions.   Boat, riggers, and oars need to find their way on the trailer.   This is not a new exercise to perform.  You have done this through a couple of regattas.   Do this as a crew and ensure that you have put all equipment necessary for you to race on the trailer.

The Westdale coaches will be having a short 15 minute meeting with you tomorrow morning

Thursday and Friday:

There is an opportunity to practice Thursday and Friday at the course. The first requirement though is to rig any and all boats that you will be using for racing. If you are racing then you are rigging.

The practice times are between 4 to 7 pm but the coaches need to confirm this. You can only practice as a crew that is racing. Do not ask to row another boat. Do not ask……..

The coaches are still determining how we’ll coordinate for practice and rides. We’ll update you tomorrow morning.


We have a lot of racing on Saturday. The coaches will have their hands full marshalling crews to the docks for races. We have a number that are very close together. Be very prudent with the questions that you ask. You may not get an answer.

You are expected to be at the race course on Saturday. There is no opportunity to sight see, or go off the island. Expectations are that you are at the course preparing to race. This mean in the shade, hydrating, off your feet, and resting. If out in the sun, standing around for long periods of time, or just walking around than you are not prepared to race.

In a post tomorrow the coaches will detail the schedule for Saturday such as when you need to be at the race course.

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Summer Rowing and Club Clothing Order

There were a lot of questions being directed at the lead coaches today about summer rowing. I’ll answer these from my perspective and then you can approach the lead coaches tomorrow about any unanswered questions.

I encourage everyone to consider rowing in the summer and by extension the fall rowing season. It will give you considerable opportunity to improve your rowing abilities. Here are important considerations.

The summer competitive season starts on June 12th and runs through to the major event of the Canadian rowing calendar which is the Royal Canadian Henley and which runs August 2 to 7.

If you are interested in summer competitive club rowing then you need to commit to it. What this means is that if you are planning on being away on weekends or taking time off during the above mentioned period than summer competitive rowing is NOT for you. You must be able to commit to a training schedule that involves in excess of 8 practices a week and racing every weekend. No exceptions.

Also crew composition is based on performance. You earn your spot in a crew through your rowing ability and erg scores. This is not a program where you row with who you want and try out different boats based on your choice. The coaches build boats towards high performance and racing potential.

You need to commit to the summer competitive program by June 12th. Do NOT leave this to the last minute.

If the above has not scared you away than you need to purchase a Leander unisuit for racing. This is time sensitive and needs to be done by Sunday May 29th. Put your order in NOW.Here are the details:

iTeam order instructions

  1. http://www.regattasport.com
  2. Click ‘iTEAMS’ link in the header & “Home” in the subheader
  3. Click “Register” then proceed to create your personal account.
  4. Once step 3 is complete, click the “iTeams” header & “Home”
    link again.
  5. Select Leander Boat Club from the drop box.
  6. Password: LBC2022
  7. Place order!

At this point if you have read this far you now realize that summer competitive is not a drop-in program. If you want to come out a few days a week and improve your rowing ability than consider the bantam program as your suimmer activity. This is a more casual program and gives more opportunity for flexibility. Please review the following carefully and ask me or Meegan for clarification.

Summer Rowing Programs at
Leander Boat Club
Junior Competitive Bantam
Start Date: June 12, 2022
2km erg piece Start Date: June 13, 2022
Upgrade to Spring/Summer: $270.00
Upgrade to Full Year: $550.00
*Full-year includes winter training
*Fees do not include entry fees and
Leander Uniforms
See above for uniform ordering details
*Uniform order due by May 29, 2022
● Practice 6 mornings per week
● Availability for practices will play a
part in crew selections
● Regattas on weekends
● Top crews will compete at Royal
Canadian Henley (August 1st – 7th)
● Flexible commitment show up and you will be assigned a boat by a coach)
Monday-Friday 4:00 pm-6:00 pm
● Train to Compete
Train to Train

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Weekend Results and the Next Two Weeks

I’ve been able to review and think about the weekend regatta and here are my thoughts. F

First and foremost, we have roughly two weeks until CSSRA and one week to the upcoming City Champs. These weeks will go by quickly and it is important that you take in as much information as the two coaches push at you.

Overall the weekend regatta was very positive. This was our first large regatta in over two years with two thirds of you never having experienced this. We performed well but not great. However, experience and focus will ensure the future regattas are great.

Crews raced well and we saw a number of crews make finals. This is a good thing. What was nice to see was the improvements made between heats and finals with some nice adjustments as crews leading to large improvements in time. One crew made simple adjustments in their stroke rate and improved 30 seconds.

I saw a number of races and Westdale crews for the most part were very successful in getting into the gates. The wind conditions conspired against the smaller crews and we’ll practice this skill set.

Some crews struggled with the racing and that is fine. It is what you do next. Honest and transparent communication is key but this is a difficult skillset. Many of the post race debriefs did not focus on the race between the gates and the finish. In the future the goal is to get faster and impartial debriefs are one of the steps to achieve this.

You also found that regattas can be long and tedious. This regatta either experiences two extremes in weather. Very hot or very chilly. We had the former and as you found you need to be in the shade and hydrating, Not all of us were successful at this.

At least part of one crew found that they were sitting around for almost the whole regatta before they even had a chance to race. This is the nature of regattas and the condensed nature of this one did not allow for more races. My apologies for this. It did not look as being such an onerous ordeal when I made the entries. I’ll do better in the future.

So we embark on the last two weeks of the spring season. I will reiterate your two primary goals when you are on the water. Perfect your rowing stroke. Every crew can improve in this area. We need to be more precise and efficient in all facets of the stroke. This is a movement that you will repeat over 200 times in a race. A single centimeter improvement in each stroke will mean 200 cm. That is the difference in many races between being in the medal and not.

The second goal is that you need to continue to work as crews. From the boathouse to the water and back the boathouse. Function as a single entity.

Good work all around and lets be better this weekend.

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Racing Preparation and Tomorrow

I’ve mentioned some of this in previous blog post but I am condensing here in a single post so that you are all prepared for tomorrow

Meegan and Mike are the Westdale coaches.   If you need anything then they are your first point of contact.  Anything,  you find Meegan or Mike. Do not wander around and ask the other coaches.  

This means that if you need to know your race time, or boat allocation, you see Meegan or Mike.   Need tools, see Meegan or Mike.   Need to know where you need to be at specific times.   See Meegan or Mike.  Modern hipster conversation. See Meegan

Be at the race course by no later than 6:15 AM.   You need to help bring boats off of the trailer and rig them.   As the largest team at the club the expectation is that you do the largest amount of work.  That is fairness and reality wrapped in a pretty bow.

Bring PHOTO ID.  Bring PHOTO ID.  Bring PHOTO ID.    Health card, drivers license, passport, student card.  One of these will suffice.  In previous years the lack of a photo id means you and your crew are spectators and not participants.  

Bring food, a water bottle (there is a water truck), spare clothes, racing uniform.  Blankets and a tent are always good.   A roll of tollet paper is always good to bring (you’ll know why when you see it).  You need to consider that you need to be self sufficient for at least 12 hours.

  I know you won’t forget your phone as this is an ideal time for some snatched selfies but alas there are no charging stations.  Plan your screen time.

Meegan and Mike will discuss racing plans tomorrow prior to the race.

You need to be at the trailer an hour before your race.   You will push off the dock at 40 to 45 minutes prior to your race.   Do not violate these times.   The crew needs to over the boat, adjust footboards, ensure functioninng cox boxes, check riggers, and discuss the race plan with the crew and coach. 

A cone of silence needs to be enacted.   No loud discussions and the only focus is on the race.   We quietly discuss the race.   This level of silence continues from the trailer, to the dock, on the water from the dock to the starting line, in the race, through the finish line and back to the dock.  Do not be that crew that acts like pirates.

The only voices are the coxie in a coxed boat, and the bow person in a straight boat.   The only time you can break this rule is if you are in imminent danger.   Obstructions that the cox may not see, another crew coming from the wrong direction,  freshwater whales, etc.   Only then can you break the silence.

Respectfully tell your parents that they are not welcome at the trailer.   Either before the race and especially after the race.  Your coaches need your undivided attention.   We want to discuss race plan prior to the race and after the race we need you to focus on the debrief.  After the race the boat goes from the dock back to the trailer and as a crew we collect together and discuss the race.   Do not wander off.  

This may not seem important but in a year or two time after many meters of training and racing you will definitely understand how this improves you as a competitor.  Similar to my ask yesterday.   Continue to perfect your rowing stroke and work as a crew.   Ambiguous, yes! but in a nutshell these are the two important goals to reach for each and every day.

Also it is important to note that Meegan and Mike want to watch your races.   This is why we bring our bikes.   Ensuring orderly boat launches prior to races allows us the opportunity to pedal 4K to the start and then pedal back 4k through the race and then to the clubhouse.  Please do not deny us this opportunity.   Our quads thank you in advance.

However, you may find that we are out watching a race.   Do not panic if you are approaching the one hour prior to the race and we are not at the trailer.   We are peddling furiously back. 

I’m sure there is something that I have missed here but we’ll plan on having coachable moments tomorrow.

PHOTO ID.  PHOTO ID.  PHOTO ID.   Not sure if I previously mentioned this but it is important to bring this with you,

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Entry Fees!!!! and an Ask from All of You

Some of you have asked about the entry fees for the regattas that we are going to. I have not done the entries for CSSRA as of yet but I can provide you with the details on the SNRC and Hamilton City Championships

The SNRC regatta scheduled for this weekend required entry fees of $1080.

The Hamilton City Champs required entry fees of $580.

This means the two regattas required a grand total of $1660.

How did the entry fees get paid? For some this may be a mystery but for others (namely me) it is not a mystery. I have covered the fees through my own personal funds.

This is necessitating that I ask each and every one of you to reimburse me $60. The breakdown is $40 for SNRC and $20 for the City Champs.

You can either pay me directly by cash, cheque, or via etransfer to coachroche@bell.net

Any questions, please get back to me. I’m sure that some of you do have questions.

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SNRC Regatta – Important Information

This is extremely important information for everyone to read and understand. Many of you have never raced at this regatta and for the vast majority this is your first regatta ever. It is extremely important that you listen to your coaches at the regatta (before, during, after).

I’ll be updating this blog for the next few days as questions are asked of the coaches and we generate the answers. The following is no special order. Ever point is highly critical to us having a successful regatta.

Bring snacks, water, water bottles, dry clothing, your racing shirts, any needed medical gear. Be prepared to be self sufficient.

PHOTO ID – this is very important. Bring you Student ID card. It may not be needed at this regatta but at CSSRA it will be needed. Alternatively any photo id can be used such as a health card, driver license, or passport.

WHY is this needed? It validates who you are. Regattas in the past have prevented crews from competing if photo id could not be shown. Do not disappoint your crew mates!!

Arrive at 7 AM. Promptly. I will update this time if you are needed earlier than this.

You will be unloading the trailer and rigging the boats that you will be using. Do not be one of those athletes that shows up after this vital activity is done. You are part of a crew and you are expected to work as a crew. A 7/16 inch wrench is part of your racing equipment so bring one.

Please review my previous post on direction to the race course. I have found that the residents of Welland are mostly unaware on where the race course is located. Plan accordingly. Do NOT GPS SNRC Rowing Club. The best approach is to ballpark it with Dain City. That is where the race course is.

COXIES: There will be a coxies and coaches meeting prior to the regatta start. If I need you at the race course earlier than I will make you aware.

COXIES and Bow Seats: Meegan and I will talk to you Saturday morning about the proper course pattern to follow.

Race Etiquette: This could fill pages but here are some

  • 1. the only voice in the crew is the coxie or the bow person. This is very important at the starting gates. Experienced crews never like to hear other crews bickering, talking, or generally being noisy.
  • 2. if an official speaks to you and tells you to do something , you do not argue. Do what they ask.
  • 3. no trash talking with other crews. Silence except for the above rule 1. No matter what
  • 4. follow the course pattern. Meegan and I will educate.
  • 5. Coxie and Bow seat. Know your race number, race name, and the lane you are in.
  • 6. Follow race directions from the umpire boat. Yes there are umpire boats that follow you down the course and give you instructions. Pay attention to what they ask you to do.
  • 7. Be prepared to have to stop in a race. Either due to you potentially colliding with another crew or an official tells you to. A sharp call of “hold water Westdale” should not result in looking around and asking what is going on. You hold water.
  • 8. more to follow as I think about it.

PARENTS, PARENTS: I’m hoping parents are reading this blog and here are some items that I need you to be aware. Athletes, please make sure that your parents understand the following.

Crews are called to their race about 45 minutes prior to the their start time. The coaches ask their crews to be at the trailer an hour prior to launch. At this time it is important that parents are NOT be around the crew or the trailer. This is to allow the crew to go over the boat, bring oars to the dock, and allow the coaches to go over race preparedness. Pleae respect this rule.

After the race, coaches would like the parents to remain away from the trailer and the crews for a 1/2 hour after the race. This is to ensure that the crews have properly brought the boat back to the trailer and the coaches have had time to properly discuss the race with the crew.

Any parent not honouring these rules will be politely reminded about these rules. Respect what the coaches need to do.

Be patient and listen to your coaches. This is not our first regatta.

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Driving Directions for SNRC Regatta

Getting to the regatta on Saturday is not difficult but you do not need to plan on taking 45 minutes to an hour to get to the race course.

Also be aware that putting SNRC Rowing Club into Google Maps will not take you to the race couyr

Some parents have asked about driving directions to SNRC.  Here is a link to the directions:

Click to access snrc-parent-information.pdf

A condensed version is here.

Be aware that if you take the Highway 406 route into Dain City (aka Welland) that the bridge over the canal at the race course is closed to vehicle traffic.  You will be able to get to the parking lot that is at the former John Deere factory (Canal Street) , but this is not the side you want.   You need to take highway 54 around to Dain City.   Use a GPS, or take the Highway 20 route.  The Highway 20 route puts you on the right side.     However the best route is the one that I take and it is Victoria Avenue through Vineland to Highway 3

For those taking Vineland Avenue (Highway 24)

  • take QEW Niagara
  • take Victoria Avenue Exit (highway 24)
  • follow Victoria Avenue all the way to Highway 3 (this is about 25 minutes)
  • take a left at Chambers Corners (there is an Avondale on the corner)
  • this is Forks Road West
  • Take Forks West road all the way until you get 58 West Side Road
  • DO NOT continue on Forks Road as the bridge to cross to Canal Bank Street is closed.
  • Follow West Side Road to 58A Humberstone Road.
  • Then right into Canal Bank Street
  • There is an athletes drop off area
  • The race course is right there,  It cannot be missed.  Seriously you will not miss it.

For those taking HWY 20 through Smithville and Wellandport

  • •I would strongly suggest that you check Google Maps for this one
  • the bridge closure at the canal (aka race course) puts you on the wrong side of the race course where the parents tent will be.

For those taking HWY 406

  • • Turn off HWY 27 on to Broadway
  • • Cross the canal and turn right (South) on to Canal Bank Street
  • • Turn right (West) on to Forks Road
  • • The parking lot is on the left as soon as you cross the bridge