Westdale Rowing Community

Information for the Westdale Rowing Community

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Friday AM – Instructions for Men & Women’s Teams

Hello Westdale Rowers!

The time has come to move our practices down to Leander Boat Club, finally! OUTDOOR SEASON IS UPON US!

in awe of being at boat club

Practice will begin at 5:30am sharp at Leander Boat Club, and the following athletes must attend:
-ALL of the men’s team
-ONLY women from the Sr. Women’s 8+, Sr. Women’s 2x, and Jr. Women’s Midweight 8+ (to determine your crew, see Mike’s post on crews).

Your RCA registration must be completed before tomorrow morning’s practice. Outdoor fees are also due by tomorrow morning. If you haven’t registered yet, then please do so on the RCA registration website. For instructions & a link to the website, please see Mike’s post on RCA registration. Rowing fees are $275 for HS rowers (LBC fee + WSS fee); $205 for coxswains (LBC fee only); and $70 for club athletes (WSS fee, LBC fees paid directly to club).


Men’s Team – Arrive at 5:30am. Come prepared in layered workout clothes (enough to stay warm outside), and bring 7/16ths wrenches. You will be doing final rigging adjustments (the Sr. LWT 4+ must rig the new Hudson 4+ that just arrived), a practice coach-boat setup for new athletes, and a running/stairs workout followed by an important team meeting.

Women’s Team – Arrive at 5:30am. Come prepared in layered workout clothes (enough to stay warm outside), and bring 7/16ths wrenches. You’ll be rigging the rental 8+, then meeting with Mike so that he can explain the crew selection & time trials process (the crews listed are not final until he’s done seat racing/etc., so he will explain how he’s running the selection), and then you’ll have an opportunity to do a running workout.

BOTH TEAMS – If the other schools are on-water, then we will have an opportunity to conduct part of our workout indoors on the tank. We are not going on-water tomorrow because we need to have all boats fully rigged & set before our first outing, which includes our rental boats and some equipment upgrades on the boats we’re currently using.


Layer up. Any/all of the following would be a solid choice:
-long spandex tights (insulated with fleece lining is even better for warmth, or use long underwear)
-warm smartwool socks, or similar
-running shoes
-long-sleeve, spandex (or close-fitting) exercise top made of dryfit material or something that wicks away sweat so you stay warm
-fleece vest or jacket lining
-waterproof, wind-proof jacket (nothing too heavy – something you could easily run/move around in)
-winter headband (to cover ears/forehead) or a toque/insulating hat
-mitts/gloves (trust me, you want these for tomorrow or your fingers will freeze in the wind & rain!)


We want to avoid hypothermia and all those other lovely cold-weather hazards, so please take note of the weather (13*C, thunderstorms/rain, high winds) and dress accordingly.

See you all at Leander Boat Club tomorrow at 5:30am sharp.


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Training April 6th-11th (ERG TESTS & FIRST WATER DAY!)

Hello Westdale!

I hope you’ve all had a relaxing long-weekend. Now that the docks are in we are officially able to get on-water this week. Our first on-water day will be Saturday, April 11th. This is based off of cold-water rules arranged with Steffan, as well as the timing of boat rentals arriving (some of which we require to get on-water). This week is also the coaching swap, so the women will be coached by me (Alessandra), and the men will be coached by Mike.

We're switching!

We’re switching!

A friendly reminder to all parents & athletes: Outdoor Fees must be paid before getting out on-water. Please ensure that you speak with your athlete’s primary coach if you require an alternate payment plan, or if you have any questions about the outdoor fees. Chili cookoff sign-up sheets will be made available tomorrow as an online Google document, so keep posted for that, and I will also be posting an overview to the blog of the important info from the Chili cookoff presentation tomorrow at that same time.

Training Plan:
Monday, April 6th (TODAY, OYOT):
ALL ATHLETES – 50-60min run on your own time (long distance, category 6, cardio workout)

Tuesday, April 7th: 6:30am @WSS *coach swap*
Men – 10min warmup jog in middle gym; 20min stair run (basement to 4th floor, in stairwell nearest weight room); 30min House of Pain (3rd floor in partners); stretching & debrief with Mike
Women – 10min warmup jog in middle gym; Juniors = 2km erg testing; Seniors = cardio circuit (TBExplained at practice); stretching & debrief with Alessandra

Wednesday, April 8th: 6:30am @WSS *coach swap*
Men – 10min warmup run; dynamic stretching; 2x30min erg w 5min rest (Cat 5 – 6km split + 8s); stretching & debrief with Mike
Women – 10min warmup run; 20min stair run tag-team game (3rd floor); 30min House of Pain (3rd floor in partners); stretching & debrief with Alessandra

Thursday, April 9th: 6:30am @WSS *coach swap*
Men – 10min suicide & core switches (warmup); Day 1 Weights (original circuit – NOT intensification phase); 20min run (time pending); stretching & debrief with Mike
Women – Goal Setting Discussion & Crew Challenge (on the erg) with Alessandra; stretching & debrief

Friday, April 10th: 5:30am***LATER FOR THIS DAY ONLY @Leander Boat Club
Men (ALL) – Boat Cleaning & Final Rig Checks; Crew Run & Stairs; Team Meeting with Alessandra
Women (AM athletes only) – Rigging of the Rental 8+; Team Meeting with Mike

Saturday, April 11th: 5:45am @LBC
Men (AM athletes only) – practice from 5:45-8am
Women (AM athletes only) – practice from 5:45-8am

For those of you wondering what a regular weekly schedule would look like for on-water training, please see the PDF here: Westdale Rowing 2015 – Training Schedule (Timing)

See you all tomorrow morning at Westdale Secondary School (6:30am),

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Chili Cookoff Parent’s Meeting, March Break Training, and Welland Tank Session

Dear Athletes & Parents,

Three quick notes in this post:

1) Parent’s Meeting – Thursday, March 26th @7pm in the WSS Library

Mark your calendars: Thursday, April 16th will be the night of Westdale Rowing’s Infamous Chili Cookoff! PREPARE YOUR CROCKPOTS. GET READY FOR A SHOWDOWN. EMPTY STOMACHS WILL BE FILLED. The winner is still to be determined…

The parent’s meeting on Thursday March 26th at 7pm in the WSS library will address the Chili Cookoff (which has been organized by the Parent Reps), as well as important outdoor rowing information (fees, waivers, regatta dates, safety requirements, practice schedule/training requirements at LBC).

2) March Break Training – Monday, March 16th from 6-8am @LBC

There will be one official “At LBC” practice held over March break this year. The team practice will run on Monday, March 16th, from 6-8am at Leander Boat Club. The rest of the week will be comprised of workouts that athletes can complete at home on their own time – these workouts will be posted to this blog. If athletes would like additional assistance with technical development on the erg or on the tank aside from Monday’s practice, then they should contact Alessandra with their availability & the name of a partner that would join in the practice (there must be at least 2 athletes for an extra practice to be held).

3) Welland Tank Session – Sunday, March 29th from 12-3pm @WIFC

We will be holding a mandatory tank session for ALL outdoor rowers on the Men’s & Women’s Teams. The tank session is booked for Sunday, March 29th, and will run from 12-3pm at the Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC). Plan to be there for the entire session, as we will be rotating athletes through the tank & the gym (for information on the facilities available, click here). Directions can be found here, but will also be posted closer to the session date.

See you all tomorrow for the coach-swap,

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Athlete Fees Owing

Dear Athletes,

We still have some outstanding fees for the indoor season & upcoming races. Please check the lists below to see if you still owe indoor fees. If you’re unable to attend a practice this week to drop off your cheque, then please contact your coach and they can coordinate something. As our first race is less than two weeks away, it’s very important for us to collect the fees soon.

Thanks in advance for your understanding!


William S.

Luke G
Maxwell M.
Kieran G
Talal A
Erik H
Cooper W
Lucas A
Evan W
Harrison M
Jared S
Arnaud D
Julian R


Mike has this list with him, but please check your names against the list below & if you’re not on the list below stating that you’re “paid” then please connect with me or Mike to coordinate fees. Thank you!

Lauren G
Claire G
Jocelyn M
Zoe S
Meaghan H
Mackenzie B
Stephanie C
Meegan C
Miriam L
Allie H
Sarah B
Katie Y
Samara M
Victoria C
Hannah K
Kate S
Breanne H

Again, if you have any questions or concerns regarding the fees, please feel free to contact your coach (Men = Alessandra, Women = Mike) or teacher rep (Carolyn Craven). We can work out alternate payment schedules if required to ensure that all athletes are able to row, but we do require notice so that we can plan around these changes.


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Training Calendar for May & June; LBC Rowing Ban (Fees); Chili Cookoff Update

Hello Westdale Athletes & Parents,

Lots of important information can be found in this post, which will provide an overview of the following:
-Daily training schedules & workouts (both on-water and dryland-backup)
-Regatta dates (available in the May/June Training Calendar)
-Rowing fees update & LBC rowing ban (if unpaid)
-Chili Cookoff Update (cheques & funds raised)
I have also included some technical tips (with a video) for those of you interested in some pointers.

Training Calendar: Daily Workouts & Regatta Dates
To begin, here is the link to the daily training schedule: WSS Rowing 2014 Training Schedule (A. Gage – MAY & JUNE). This link includes regatta dates – just click to enlarge the calendar & you’ll be able to locate all of the information in one place.

LBC Rowing Ban: Fees Owing & Consequences
Leander Boat Club will prevent Westdale Rowing from continuing if we do not submit all of our rowing fees this week. In order for us to submit the cheque to Leander, we require ALL athletes to complete their fee payments by tomorrow (Thursday, May 1st), or you will no longer be able to row on the team. If you have ANY concerns about making the payment, please speak directly with me or Mike and we can arrange something that works for everyone. Please make cheques payable to “Westdale Secondary School” and include “[ROWERS FULL NAME] – Rowing Fees” in the memo. Please submit your cheques to me (Alessandra Gage) tomorrow (Friday, May 2nd) or you/your crews will be unable to go on-water.

Questions Regarding Secondary Boats – Men’s Team & Sr. Women’s 4x
All primary boats (SM1x, SM4x (A), SM4x (B), SW4x, SLM4+, and JFM4+) will be racing at Mother’s Day. In addition to your primary boats, the following secondary boatshave been entered for the Mother’s Day Regatta:

SLM1x – Hudson H.
JM2x – Max M. & Erik H.
SW2x – Haley H. & Kiija G.
SM8+ – Kiri D. (cox), JJ S., Nimeash D., Lucas A., Philippe B-R., Bogdan C., Toby M., Evan W., David L.
Brenna L. & Breanne H. – your secondary boat for Mother’s Day will be in the SW8+ (coordinated by Mike), but for all other regattas your secondary boat will be a SW2x.
Luke G. – your secondary boat will be stroking the SM4x (Hudson/Erik/Max) for Mother’s Day, but for all other regattas your secondary boat will be a SM2x with Carmichael.

Not all athletes will have secondary boats. Secondary boats will depend on experience, level of competition, and athlete/boat availability. Many of you are wondering when we will be training in secondary boats. This will occur during some of the morning & afternoon practices of next week. If the weather is good, I will take secondary boats for a practice in the afternoon with the PM-primary boats, but only if you’ve arranged it with me in advance.

Questions RE: Chili-Cookoff Update
The head of the Parent’s Committee, Lori Prevec, has been organizing and taking care of all things related to the Chili-Cookoff. She is currently tallying the cheques to determine the full amount of funds raised and should be able to provide an update soon. Once I’ve received the update, I’ll post it to the blog so everyone is aware of how much we managed to raise. Once Lori’s tallied the cheques, my understanding is that they will then be cashed ASAP by our teacher rep, Ms. Carolyn Craven. I will keep you all posted on any updates that I recieve.

Technical Tips: Advice for Rowers
As promised, here are a few quick-tips to keep in mind when training:

  • Warmup with a half-boat pick progression (full boat if experienced)
  • Try to incorporate a few higher-rate pieces (28, 30, 32) & a few lower-rate slide-control pieces (16, 18, 20) during your warmup
  • Practice position-3 pause to focus on body swing out from the bow & to feel the weight shift from bow to stern (e.g.: feel the weight move from the back wheels of your seat to the front wheels of your seat)
  • Once the blade is placed in the water (just beneath the water), push STRAIGHT to the finish by keeping hands level (like opening a drawer)
  • On the drive: squeeze the core and think of drawing the belly-button back to the finish (this will ensure BOTH hips and shoulders move equally towards the finish BEFORE the body swing)

Try watching this video for more pointers on how to pull through to the finish, as explained by former US World Champion Charlotte Hollings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpXP6l6QZGI

Wishing the wind would go away,

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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,

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LTR Instructor Clinic for Highschool Rowers, Outdoor Fees, and RCA Registration

Hello Westdale Rowers,

I hope you’ve all been having a successful training time on-water and on-land (depending on the weather), and that the crews have been working out thus far. I’ve heard that the Chili Cookoff was a success, which is great news, and thank you VERY much for the lovely coaching gift (the flowers). I will be flying back to Canada tomorrow morning & will be back to coach at practices as of this Friday morning.

Three important things:

1) Learn-To-Row Instructor Clinic for Highschool Rowers keen for a Summer Job

Steffan Wagner recently emailed all highschool rowing coaches to pass along the following information about a “Learn to Row Instructor Course” that will enable highschool rowers to coach Learn-To-Row as a summer job, if you’re interested. Please see his message below (copied & pasted) for full details:

“Hello High School Coaches,

A final reminder to encourage your athletes to register  for the LTR Instructor Clinic hosted by Leander BC on April 26 and 27. This is a great opportunity for your athletes to learn more about the sport and is a requirement for summer jobs at Leander. Registration is found here; this is also an opportunity to train future coaches for your team!!!

The link for registration for the upcoming learn to row instructor workshop at Leander is here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/learn-to-row-instructor-hamilton-april-26-27-tickets-11270982813
Steffan Wagner
Rowing Manager, Leander Boat Club
Head Coach, McMaster University Rowing
Office: 905-527-7377

2) Outdoor Rowing Fees

As Mike has mentioned, please ensure that you submit your outdoor rowing fees (and/or any outstanding Chili Cookoff tickets money) by Saturday, April 26th. His post about total costs & details can be found here: https://westdalerowing.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/2014-outdoor-rowing-fees-needed-by-saturday-april-26th/

3) RCA Registration Requirements

At least five athletes are still unregistered & need to complete their RCA registration this week. Please see Mike’s initial post here about registration details: https://westdalerowing.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/rca-registration-required-before-we-can-go-on-the-water/. The five athletes I currently have listed as unregistered are: “Taylor, Sadie, Jake, Toby, and Kiri” (the list sent to us by LBC Manager, Steffan Wagner). If you have any difficulties, please let us know and we can assist you.

I’ll see you all very soon, and I hope that the winds stay down so we can get some good water mileage.


PS – I leave you with a photo of rowers in Firenze (Florence), Italy, rowing in the Arno river under the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge):

Rowing in the Arno

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Important: Fee Deadlines

Dear Parents,

This is a friendly reminder that if your child has not yet brought in a cheque for their unisuit order & a cheque for their indoor rowing competitions (if they intend to race this season), then they must bring their cheques to practice this Monday, January 13th (tomorrow), and no later than Tuesday, January 14th.

If we do not recieve the cheques for unisuit orders & the indoor competitions, then they will be unable to compete or obtain racing gear.

Thank you for your understanding,