Westdale Rowing Community

Information for the Westdale Rowing Community

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CSSRAs: From a Former Coach

Dear Westdale Rowers,

Mike, Tom, and Peter have kindly allowed me to write a post to all of you in light of the upcoming CSSRA races this weekend, so here it goes 🙂 :

Throughout this past year I’ve had the privilege of seeing the blog updates from Mike and Tom in regards to your hard work, training, and racing results. It’s been incredibly awesome (in the true “awe inspiring” sense of the word) to see how much you’ve all developed athletically and progressed.

I’ve missed coaching you at Westdale, but I know that this year’s team has been doing a great job – both the athletes and the coaches. As you move into your final regatta of the school year, I want to leave you with this:

You’ve worked so hard for this. For many of you, you’ve been training multiple years for this. “Good luck” is something that I could say, but I reckon that “luck” is not as important as executing what you already know and have been trained for. You KNOW what to do. Go do it. Make it yours. And have fun. 😉 Knowing that you’ve left everything you could on the water after rowing to the best of your capabilities as a team is the most important thing. Yes, even more than your final numerical placement on a scoreboard.

I’ll be cheering for you, across a different kind of pond, in a slightly different continent. My heart is at the regatta this weekend.

Miss you all… and sure, I’ll still say it: GOOD LUCK!!!

(Former Westdale Rowing Coach 2006-2015)

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Student/Parent Meeting for 2015/2016 Rowing Season

We are holding our Parent/Student meeting on Tuesday, Nov 3rd at 7:00 pm in the Westdale High School Library.  This is for anyone interested in being part of the Westdale High School Rowing crew for the 2015/2016 season.

The meeting will provide information on the structure of the indoor season and the opportunity for parents and students to learn and ask questions about the rowing program at Westdale.


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Tom Beshoff – Coaching Introduction

Dear Westdale Rowers & Parents,

Please see below for a message from our newest addition to the coaching team, Tom Beshoff:

I just thought I would fire off a note to say that I’m thrilled to be a part of Westdale Rowing!  From what I’ve seen these past few mornings, there’s some great potential in the squad and your coaches have done some really good work getting you to this point of the season.

I’m looking forward to working with all of the rowers at various points until June, and I’ll do my very best to help you be as fast as possible on the water.  If we combine your best effort with our best effort, I can tell you that there is NO LIMIT on what you can achieve.

I don’t use quotes very often, but one that is absolute gold in our sport, is:

   “What the Mind Believes, the Body will Deliver”

I’ll provide a couple of stories later this week to show you why this one really works for me. In the meantime, I’d like you to do some homework.  I want you to think of your two best qualities that help the most in making you go faster.  And I also want you to think of two things that you feel are standing in the way of you getting faster.  I’ll be asking you at some point, for these answers.


…I highly encourage all athletes – both men’s & women’s teams – to consider Tom’s homework points above, as you’ll be called upon in this coming week to provide your responses.

Welcome, Tom!


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Coaching Introduction – Sarah Zhou

Hello all,

My name is Sarah and I look forward to joining Coaches Mike, Peter and Alessandra. I am currently in my 3rd year of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Biomedical Specialization) program at McMaster.

Prior to University, I played soccer at a provincial level, but I was forced to retire due to a recurring knee injury. Fortunately, as I was looking for a new activity, I was introduced to rowing through the McMaster Novice program. Currently, I am a lightweight on the McMaster Varsity Rowing Team. I also rowed for Leander Boat Club over the summer, where my crew and I placed bronze in the lightweight 4- at ROWONTARIO Championships.

Although I have previously coached two soccer teams, this will be my first experience with coaching rowing. I hope to bring my enthusiasm and passion for sports to the benefit of the team while learning tons from the experienced coaches.

Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions about rowing, schoolwork, University or life in general!


My lightweight 2x partner and I (in bow) rowing for Leander Boat Club

My lightweight 2x partner and I (in bow) rowing for Leander Boat Club

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Coaches! Yes We Have Coaches

We’ve had some additions to the coaching staff over the past week.    Here is our current roster of coaches for the 2014/2015 Indoor Season

Head Coach – Mike Roche

Assistant Head Coach – Alessandra Gage (click for contact info & coaching intro)

Assistant Coach – Peter DeNew

Assistant Coach – Dan Castellana

Assistant Coach – Sarah Zhou (click for coaching intro)

Many of you already know Peter DeNew.  His daughter is a Westdale Alumni and he has been coaching at Westdale and at Leander the past two years.

Dan Castellana is also a Westdale Alumni and is a novice coach.

Sarah Zhou is a McMaster student and is a member of the McMaster University rowing team and also a member of the Leander rowing team. For more about Sarah, read her coaching introduction.

The new assistant coaches have been a great addition to our program and are already helping Ali and me better manage the program.

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Athlete Feedback – Survey for 2014 Outdoor Rowing Season

Hello Athletes!

Now that you’ve had a few days to recover from your final races of the outdoor season (but while the season is still fresh in your minds) we’d like to invite ALL athletes (Jr/Sr/Men/Women/AM/PM/injured) to provide feedback on the training, coaching, and general thoughts on the outdoor season.

Please submit your feedback by completing the survey found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QGHYT2Q

This survey is intended for athletes only because a separate survey/feedback form will be given to parents & will be collected separately. This will help us in effectively analyzing the feedback. The parent feedback survey will be posted within the next few days (this week) – thanks in advance for your patience.

I highly encourage everyone to respond because this is our way of determining what’s working & what needs to be changed and it’s very useful for improving the program. Be sure to have your voice heard by completing the survey 🙂


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Summer Rowing – Working Links

Hi Rowers,

I’ve been informed that the hyperlinks didn’t work in my last post, so I’ve updated that post with working hyperlinks & am re-posting the links here JUST in case.

Here are the four links you need (minus all the extra info I listed in the previous blog post):

1) The main blog you’ll need to check is this one: http://leandermanager.wordpress.com/

2) The summer rowing information for Jr. Men (this includes ALL highschool aged athletes) can be found here: http://leandermanager.wordpress.com/lbc-junior-men/

3) The summer rowing information for the Jr. Women (including ALL highschool aged athletes) can be found here: http://leandermanager.wordpress.com/leander-boat-club-and-mcmaster-university-rowing-training-blog/

4) The Summer Regatta Schedule can be found here: https://leandermanager.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/summer-sched.pdf

Hopefully this helps,

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Summer Rowing Information

Hello athletes!

Here’s the information you’ve all been waiting for: SUMMER ROWING INFO! 🙂

1) The main blog you’ll need to check is this one: http://leandermanager.wordpress.com/

2) The summer rowing information for Jr. Men (this includes ALL highschool aged athletes) can be found here: http://leandermanager.wordpress.com/lbc-junior-men/

…you will be coached by the very lovely & talented Jess Bill, who is currently the St. Mary’s Head Coach. She’s a fantastic coach & will no doubt be a lot of fun to work with. She’ll also be assisted by Ryan Walters (current StM assistant coach) and two others (Chris Jacques & Alec Mannarino)

3) The summer rowing information for the Jr. Women (including ALL highschool aged athletes) can be found here: http://leandermanager.wordpress.com/leander-boat-club-and-mcmaster-university-rowing-training-blog/

…don’t be fooled by the link’s URL title, it’s definitely the information you need for the Jr. Women. Craig Pollock will be the main coach, and Peter DeNew will be assisting. I will also be occassionally assisting during the month of June (perhaps for just the women, maybe for both groups – not sure yet).

4) The Summer Regatta Schedule can be found here: https://leandermanager.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/summer-sched.pdf

…try to make sure you’re available for those dates, as they’re your racing dates!

5) “But I go to camp” – don’t worry, rowing ENDS in August, so you could technically do both! Unless you’re a camp counsellor & plan on working the whole summer, in which case you might be out of luck. That said, check out the schedule to see if it works – you might be able to swing both!

6) When does it start? – Steffan has mentioned that the official start-date will be June 16th, but there may be some optional practices in the meantime. Simply check the blog (posted above) to stay updated. All of the Summer Rowing coaches understand that you’re going through exams & that exams will be your top priority for a while, but you should still indicate your interest to them so that they’re aware you’re keen to join. Payment for rowing fees/dues will be determined by the cost of a “Highschool Upgrade” (check with Steffan for full pricing details – but there’s a serious discount because you’ve already rowed highschool).

Whatever you choose to do, I hope you all have an amazing summer! 🙂


PS – Thank you to everyone who came to rig & wash boats this afternoon, it was a huge help! For those of you that missed it, I’m afraid to say you missed out on some pretty awesome popsicle treats…

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Training, Trailer Loading, Mother’s Day Entries, and Assistant Coaches

Hi Westdale Rowers & Parents,

I am very pleased to announce that we have four new assistant coaches joining us for the outdoor season. Please see below for an overview of the assistant coaches & their coach pairings (days they’ll be helping out); information on training; and specifics concerning trailer loading and the Mother’s Day Regatta this weekend.

Assistant Coaches:

Eben Prevec: Eben is an experienced varsity heavyweight rower at UBC and a Westdale Rowing Alumnus. He has competed in numerous sweep competitions & has also sculled throughout his rowing career. Eben will be assisting Mike on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, and will be assisting me on Thursdays/Fridays/Sundays. He will also be attending the after-school practices & will assist Peter on Monday/Wed PM.

Anise Truman: Anise has been rowing as a varsity lightweight rower at Queens University. Also a graduate of Westdale, Anise has experience in both sweep & sculling, but will be assisting predominantly with the sculling boats. Anise will assist Peter on Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Saturdays/Sundays (AM) and during afternoon sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays. She will assist Mike with the women’s sweep crews on Thursday & Friday mornings (coxing a women’s 8+).

Mary Rao: Mary is an experienced coxswain, rower, and coach who has coxed many varsity boats for McMaster University. She has previously coached at LBC as a Learn-To-Row instructor, and has coached the Bishop Tonnes highschool team. In addition to assisting with Westdale Secondary School’s outdoor season this year, she is also coaching in the Sails & Shells programme conducted by RowOntario. Mary will be assisting Peter on Thursday & Friday mornings, in addition to coaching Tuesday-Thursday in the afternoon.

Lexi Ross: Lexi began rowing in the 2012/2013 Westdale Rowing season during her final year of highschool (another Westdale alumnus!), and has since been a rower on the Queen’s University varsity rowing team. Lexi is currently set to assist Mike on Thursday & Friday mornings, and will also be assisting at other practices depending on availability.

The assistant coaching schedule can be found here: Assistant Coaching Schedule (Coach Pairings)

Training Schedule until Schoolboys:

The completed training schedule – including all regatta dates, holidays, crew dinners, and ergathons – can be found here: WSS Rowing 2014 Training Schedule (A. Gage – MAY & JUNE). Please click on the link to enlarge the program & feel free to print and post it to your fridge (a helpful reminder of important dates!).

A mandatory full team meeting will also be held tomorrow (Tuesday, May 6th) after practice to discuss new coaching, the Mother’s Day Regatta entries, and an important notice about arrival times to practice. All boats will return to the docks earlier than normal so that we can meet at 7:15am.

Trailer Loading & Mother’s Day Entries:

Trailer loading for Mother’s Day will be held at 10am on Saturday morning. Due to the LBC club schedule, the loading cannot be held earlier. This break provides enough time for athletes to clean their boats & grab a crew breakfast before derigging and trailer-loading at 10am.

The boats racing at the Mother’s Day Regatta are as follows (listed with bow or coxswain name):
-Event 6: Sr. Women’s 63kg 1x (Jocelyn)
-Event 11: Sr. Women’s 4x (Kiija)
-Event 18: Sr. Men’s 1x (Luke)
-Event 23: Sr. Men’s 4x (Hudson)
-Event 24: Sr. Women’s 1x (Madison)
-Event 25: Sr. Men’s 72kg 4+ (Kiri)
-Event 26: Jr. Women’s 8+ (Tristan)
-Event 27: Jr. Men’s 2x (Max)
-Event 30: Sr. Men’s 72kg 1x (Hudson)
-Event 33: Sr. Women’s 2x (Kiija) (Jocelyn)
-Event 35: Sr. Women’s 8+ (Will)
-Event 36: Sr. Men’s 8+ (Kiri)

As per my discussion with the Sr. Men’s 4x (David/Evan/Toby/Bogdan) and the Jr. Men’s FWT 4+ (Tanner/Jake/Will/Talal), the PM crews will not be racing at Mother’s Day in the SH4x and JF4+. The SH4x will join the Sr. 72kg 4+ for the Sr. Men’s 8+ at Mother’s Day, and the JF4+ will be focusing on their upcoming race at City Champs. This was mutually agreed upon by all crew members.

See you all in 4.5 hours! 🙂

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Team Update: Coaching, Secondary Boats, and Rowing Fees

Hello Westdale Rowers & Parents,

It was great seeing everyone again this morning 🙂 After meeting with Mike to discuss the practice schedule & coaching arrangements, we have finalized a few things for both the men AND the women that I outline below. This schedule will also address opportunities for secondary-boat outings. Most importantly, we have finished determining which athletes still need to pay their outdoor fees, and I have provided a list (also below) with the names & amounts owing for simplicity. All chequest should be made a payable to “Westdale Secondary School” with a memo line that reads “[Athlete’s Full Name – Rowing Fees]”.

1) Coaching Arrangements ***NEW***:

The following coaches have been assigned to these crews & practice times:

Mike Roche (Head Coach):
-Jr. Women’s MWT 8+ (Tristan (cox), Maddy, Claire, Sadie, Astara, Sophia, Stephanie, Louise, Katie M.)
-Jr. Women’s 8+ (coxswain*, Lauren, Victoria, Taylor, Rachel, Kyra (SPARE: Samantha Z.), Kate S., Sophie, Katie Y.)

*The coxswain of the Jr. Women’s 8+ will officially be Will for competitions, but Will is only going to be coxing the 8+ during the Sat/Sun weekend workouts. From Tuesday-Friday, the boat will be coxed using a rotation of coxswains that will be updated to this post by tomorrow afternoon. It may ocassionally receive coxing from Mary Rao, an assistant coach & experienced coxswain.

Alessandra Gage (Team Coach):
AM (5:15-7:30am) COACHING FOR:
-Sr. HWT Men’s 1x (Luke Gadsdon)
-Sr. HWT Men’s 4x (Hudson, Max, Erik, Carmichael)
-Sr. LWT Men’s 4+ (Kiri (cox), JJ, Lucas, Nimeash, Philippe)
-Sr. Women’s 4x (Kiija, Brenna, Breanne, Haley)

PM COACHING (4-5:30pm) FOR:
-Sr. HWT Men’s 4x (David, Bogdan, Toby, Evan)
-Jr. FWT Men’s 4+/4x (coxswain**, Tanner, Jake, Will, Talal)
-Sr. LWT Women’s 2x (Samantha Z. & COACH***)

**The coxswain of the Jr. FWT 4+ is officially Tristan W. for competitions, but will vary at afternoon practices depending on who’s available. Mary Rao (assistant coach & experienced coxswain) may ocassionally cox, but we will typically avoid the issue by ensuring that all the flyweights train in a quad. This removes the problem of finding a coxswain for the FWT boat in afternoon practices.

***The Sr. LWT Women’s 2x will not be a racing crew, but will provide a development & training opportunity with a coach or sub in the bow-seat (this will either by Mary Rao OR another athlete – from a different highschool or from McMaster University). If a current Westdale Women’s athlete is interested in taking this second spot for the purposes of training, please speak with me directly.

Peter DeNew (Assistant Coach & LBC Coachboat Lead):
AM (5:15-7:30am) COACHING FOR:
-Sr. LWT Women’s 1x (Jocelyn)
-Sr. Women’s 1x (Madison V.)
-LBC Club Singles (from other highschools, as required)

PM COACHING (4-5:30pm) FOR:
-Same crews as Alessandra Gage (this will be a co-coached session with the help of Peter, Alessandra, and Mary Rao).

Assistant Coaches (Mary Rao, Lexi Ross, Anise Truman, Eben Prevec, Rob Gage): Assistant coaches will help at various practices both AM and PM as required in order to provide the best coaching coverage possible. They will occassionally be coaching in-boat as coxswains or rowers.

2) Practice Schedule ***NEW***:

All morning crews of Alessandra, Mike, and Peter will be training Tuesday-Friday from (5:15-7:30am) and on Sat/Sun from 6-8am. Monday will be OFF (no practice).
-The Jr. Men’s FWT 4+ will train in the PM from Tuesday-Friday (4pm-5:30pm). Sat/Sun/Monday will be OFF (no practice) because Will is needed for coxing the Jr. Women’s 8+ on weekends.
-The Sr. Men’s HWT 4x will train in the PM from Monday-Friday (4pm-5:30pm). Sat/Sun will be OFF (no practice).
-All secondary crews will train in the PM only if requested by athletes OR if recommended by a coach.

3) Rowing Fees:

The following list of people owe their outdoor rowing fees as of Friday, April 25th. They are due tomorrow (Saturday, April 26th). The amount owing is indicated next to each name & the fees correspond to the position (cox/fwt; rower):

Women with Fees Owing:
*Sophie – $225
Sadie – $225
Rachel – $225
Madison V. – $225
*Kiri – $110

Men with Fees Owing:
David – $225
Philippe – $225

If your name has been highlighted in RED it means that you still need to register with RCA (list provided below). If your name has an asterisk (*) beside it, it means that we are missing your emergency contact information (along with any additional athletes listed below) and require the white & pink sheets to be signed and returned asap:
White athletics form only – Lucas, Haley, Sophie
Both white & pink athletics form/contact info sheet – Kiri, David L.
RCA registration required for: Jake, Toby, Kiri, Sadie, Taylor B.

Hopefully the wind settles down so that we’ll be out on-water this afternoon & tomorrow morning.

See you at practice,