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!!! Alessandra
Hopefully rigging went well today with Mike. Also, congrats to Erik Heinbecker for completing his first June Trials selection event today in Welland (June Trials are one part of the tryout process for the Junior National Team). Erik has not proceeded to the matrix, but did achieve some personal goals for time-trials and Senior Gold Medal Standard percentages. Great job!
Tomorrow is the Westdale Athletics Awards Assembly for any athletes that have won an MVP title this year (Jocelyn, Madison, Katie, Sadie, Lucas, Harrison, JJ, Max). Please come to the Westdale auditorium for 2:20pm for the awards assembly, followed by a BBQ in the courtyard.
Your coaches will be there to hand you your awards, so please don’t leave us standing alone awkwardly on the podium… that would be sad (it happened last year… please come this time!).
Congratulations on finishing Day 2 of the CSSRA Canadian Rowing Championships. Today was a first day of racing (heats) for some, and a second day of racing (semifinals) for others, and the day came with a very strong headwind. Both Mike and I are really proud of what you have accomplished. We’ve seen you push hard in conditions that have caused others to falter, and your technique and power together are showing through. While not all of our crews were able to proceed to the finals, we saw very good racing from everyone on the water, and you should feel confident in what you’ve achieved so far this weekend.
Tomorrow’s finals include three Westdale crews: the Jr. Women’s 63kg 8+, the Sr. Men’s 1x, and the Sr. Men’s 4x, so we hope that everyone will join us in cheering on the crews as they compete in their final race(s). After the races, we’ll be heading to Kelsey’s on Main St. West at 7pm for the End-of-Year Party, where we’ll announce this year’s MVPs, Rookie of the Year, Spirit Award Winner, and will distribute City Champs Medals & CSSRA Pins to athletes.
Sunday Arrival Times & Finals Schedule:
-All athletes from the Jr. Women’s 63kg 8+ must arrive early to weigh-in with Mike at 6:30am. -All OTHER athletes AND spectators must arrive at 11am.
A continental breakfast will be available immediately following the weigh-ins for the Jr. Women’s 63kg 8+ in the parents tent (yoghurt, muffins, etc.), and a hot breakfast/brunch will be provided at 11am, once the rest of the athletes and parents have also arrived.
Year-End Party – 7pm at Kelsey’s on Main St. West (across from WSS)
It’s that time of year again… all your bags are packed and you’re ready to go, BUT we’re still having a party and you’re invited. The end-of-year party will be held at 7pm at the Westdale Kelsey’s on Main St. West (across from the school) in the Party Room (downstairs – just ask for Westdale Rowing). ALL athletes and parents are invited – especially athletes whose season concluded with City Champs, because we’ll be handing out the City Champs medals.
We will be handing out the following awards at the party:
-Jr. Men’s & Women’s Indoor MVP
-Jr. Men’s & Women’s Outdoor MVP
-Sr. Men’s & Women’s Indoor MVP
-Sr. Men’s & Women’s Outdoor MVP
-Rookie of the Year
-Westdale Rowing Spirit Award
We’ll also be distributing City Champs medals, CSSRA pins (for those that raced this weekend), and a surprise something for those that have made their first CSSRA final.
Last of all…
I really hope to see you all at the race course AND at the party tomorrow, because this will likely be my final year coaching with Westdale and I will miss you all immensely and will be incredibly sad if I can’t say goodbye before you head off for the summer! So please do come. I would love it if you did 🙂
Today was a tough day of racing: the first day is when we meet our competition (from across the continent!) and determine conditions for our heats. The changes in wind direction (from tail to cross to head) definitely tested our crews, but everyone pushed despite the weather.
We have two crews from today’s races that have proceeded to Saturday’s Semifinals: the Sr. Men’s 1x and the Sr. Men’s 4x. We had some close calls as well, with a few boats missing the semis by just 0.6 seconds or 2.6 seconds, but we pushed hard and we’ll now look forward to doing our best tomorrow and cheering hard for other crews that are just starting their competitions.
Without further ado, here are Saturday’s Racing Times:
Sr. Women 63kg 8+ – Heat 1 @9:52am
Jr. Men 1x – Heat 1 @10:55am
Jr. Women 63kg 8+ – Heat 2 @11:44am
Sr. Men’s 1x Semifinal – 12:40pm OR 12:47pm (TBD by draw)
Sr. Men’s 4x Semifinal – 2:04pm OR 2:11pm (TBD by draw)
Jr. Women’s 4x – Heat 1 @3:42pm
Sr. Women’s 8+ – Heat 2 @5:27pm
Women’s Arrival Times:
Mike has already spoken with crews about your arrival times. Coxswains and Midweight crews must arrive earlier to weigh-in with Mike. Women’s crews that race later in the day should either arrive in time for the first race (9:52am) or at least 3 hours before your race if you’re racing at the end of the day (Sr. Women’s 8+).
The time has come! It’s the day before the races. The boats are rigged, washed, and ready to go. The blades are set. You should all feel confident that you’ve done absolutely everything you can to prepare for the regatta – because you have. As coaches, we know that you’re ready for this.
As it is a Westdale tradition, I’d like to leave you all with two short clips to watch before your races. Remember: this is your time. Go out there, give it your best, and have fun. Anything is possible.
…bring your passion, bring your spirit, and bring your A-game. You CAN do this.
Now, for the arrival & race time information: General Info:
-Weigh ins are open from 7-11am. You ONLY weigh-in on the day(s) that you are racing.
-Coxswains must weigh-in with their coach (or crew, if applicable)
-All athletes must bring current, valid student ID or photo ID (driver’s license, passport), team unisuit, sunscreen & water
-It is strongly recommended that athletes bring a tent or place to stay in the shade
-Additional information is listed here
Arrival Times for Athletes that ARE NOT racing on Friday = 9:30am
We ask that all athletes that have Friday “off” from racing arrive at the course by 9:30am. This is to support and cheer on the other crews racing, in time for the first race of the day (the Sr. Men’s Double). For the women’s team, this includes anyone racing in the eight races (Jr/Sr/Mid/Open) and in the quad
Arrival Times for Racing Athletes: *if you agreed to bring food, please ensure the food arrives for its deadline too
Sr. Men’s 2x (Max & Kieran) – 7am
Jr. Women’s 4+ (Stephanie, Tristan, Kate, Drew, Hannah) – 8am
Sr. Men’s 72kg 2x (JJ & Cooper) – 9:50am *in time to cheer on the Sr. Men’s 2x race
Sr. Men’s 1x (Luke) – 11am
Sr. Women’s 4+ (Arnaud*, Lauren, Allie, Victoria, Taylor) – 11am *Arnaud will arrive earlier to weigh-in with Mike
Sr. Men’s 4x (Erik *others have already arrived) – 12pm/noon
Sr. Women’s 1x (Madison) – 1pm
Jr. Men’s 2x (Harrison & Lucas) – 1:30pm ***times listed indicate the LATEST time by which you should arrive. Athletes are always welcome to arrive earlier to support and cheer on the other crews***
A reminder that food should be brought to the Parents’ Tent by the time indicated on the sign up sheet here.
Final Notes: Jackets will be distributed tomorrow at the races. City Champs medals will be awarded at our year-end party (yes, the medals have arrived!), and the 70th Anniversary CSSRA pins will also be distributed at our year-end party to athletes competing at this year’s CSSRAs.
That’s all, folks. See you all tomorrow on the Island.
You’ve made it! We’re now heading into the final few days before our biggest regatta of the season, the Canadian Secondary School Rowing Championships, hosted by the Canadian Secondary School Rowing Association (“CSSRA”).
Now that the races are just a few days away, I’m posting some very important information about the training, racing, and year-end party.
Any questions regarding food signup (explained in the Parent Info document) should be sent to Dina Gadsdon (Dina’s contact info is also listed in the info document).
TRAINING & RACING INFORMATION:
1) De-rigging on Wednesday, June 3rd All boats must be derigged on Wednesday morning and loaded on the trailer following practice.
For the Men’s Team: The following boats must be derigged & loaded on Wednesday AM:
-Ad Astra (Luke/Max/Kieran/Erik)
-Stocks (Max/Kieran/HSC athletes)
The following boats can be derigged anytime before Thursday’s practice in St. Catharines:
-Gadsdon 1x *must be car-topped (practicing on Thursday AM)
-Heinbecker 1x *must be car-topped
2) Thursday Practice (June 4th): All athletes racing CSSRAs are expected to attend Thursday’s practice in St. Catharines, unless otherwise discussed with a coach. All athletes should meet me (Alessandra) at 11:00am at the entrance to the football field at the back of Westdale Secondary School. We will then take attendance & board the bus. I’ll be supervising the bus ride, and the other coaches will meet us there. For liability reasons, all athletes are expected to take the bus.
Practice Plan: -Arrive, rig boats & clean, eat lunch
-Session 1 (approx. 1-2:30)
-Debrief & snack
-Session 2 (approx. 3-4:30pm)
-Debrief & pack up *Each session enables crews to go in primary and secondary boats. Session time includes warmup, cooldown, and stretching. If you only have one boat to practice in on Thursday, then please bring extra homework/etc.
You must bring: -water
-food (bring a lunch & LOTS of snacks – we’ll be at the course from 12-5pm)
-change of clothes
-workout/training clothes (ideally NOT showing Westdale colours – it’s a tradition to wear non-school clothing so that other crews can’t tell which school you’re from until the day you race)
-yourself, on time (11am)
3) Preliminary Race Draw: The preliminary race draw has not yet been posted, but will be made available soon on the CSSRA website. Please check the main website to find a copy of the draw once it’s posted by clicking here: http://www.cssra.ca/
You must bring your unisuit, student ID (or photo ID with date of birth), food/water, sunscreen, and change of clothes. We also recommend that you bring a tent or place to rest in the shade. Arrival times for crews will be posted on Thursday, June 4th, once the race draw has been finalized.
Our End-of-Year Party will take place at 7pm at the Westdale Kelsey’s on Main St. West (across from the school) in the downstairs party room (basement section). All athletes and parents are invited. This includes athletes that practiced in afternoons OR mornings, injured athletes, and/or rowers that have already completed their season with the City Champs. The event is for everyone.
We will be handing out the following awards (***oooooh, ahhhh, awards!***) at the party:
-Jr. Men’s & Women’s Indoor MVP
-Sr. Men’s & Women’s Indoor MVP
-Jr. Men’s & Women’s Outdoor MVP
-Sr. Men’s & Women’s Outdoor MVP
-Men’s & Women’s Rookie of the Year
We will also be announcing any relevant information concerning Summer Rowing & Heart and Stroke Rowing opportunities.
Are you missing your favourite yellow-capped water bottle? (Featuring: water! included! FREE!)
How about your beautiful blue water bottle? (Featuring: humid precipitation droplets! included! ALSO FREE!)
Or even your lovely green Thinsulate Woods “Lite-Loft” insulation bag to carry your crucial camping gear? (Featuring: NOTHING ELSE, JUST THE GEAR! what a win! TOTALLY FREE!) BECAUSE THEY ARE MISSING YOU SO MUCH.
They want to go home. Please, give them a home. They don’t like living with me. Seriously. I’m cruel and leave them alone in the den gathering dust. This is no life for a water bottle or air-mattress carrier.
So, if these are your items OR if you think you know the items’ owners (even if they’re from another school), please contact me so I can return these sad, lonely items to your possession.
It’s been a while since our last post, so we’re happy to say that we’ve got all sorts of fun info for you in this one!
Info for Mom!
First off, THANK YOU to all athletes for being so patient while we addressed equipment changes/availability and boating changes these past two weeks, including changes to race entries. We appreciate that you’ve all been very understanding.
Next here’s everything you need to know for the next two days:
Saturday, May 9th – Practice & Trailer Loading @5:45am at LBC
All athletes should arrive at 5:45am for a final practice before trailer loading. Practice will run from 5:45am-7:30am. Trailer loading will begin at 7:30am, and ALL boats must be fully derigged and loaded by 8:45am. The trailer will leave the LBC compound at 9am.
Sunday, May 10th – Mother’s Day Regatta (THANK YOUR MOM’S)
The Mother’s Day Regatta will be held on Henley Island in St. Catharine’s, Ontario (close to the Port Dalhousie area). Full information about event times and directions can be found here at Regatta Central.
Directions can also be found here on the Westdale Rowing blog, or here on Google Maps. *Directions say 45 min (approx.), but plan for 60-75min just in case you get lost or encounter traffic. This has happened to at least one athlete every year that we’ve coached.*
The Final Race Draw hasn’t been posted yet, but will likely be made available tomorrow on Regatta Central. Based on the Regatta Central preliminary schedule, these are the race times:
Event 6 – Sr. Women’s 63kg 1x – 9:10am (finals at 2:25pm) Event 7 – Jr. Men’s 72kg 4+ – 9:24am (finals at 2:32pm) Event 14 – Jr. Women 63kg 8+ – 10:20am (finals at 3:21pm) Event 15 – Sr. Men’s 72kg 2x – 10:34am (finals at 3:28pm) Event 18 – Sr. Men’s 1x – 11:09am (finals at 3:49pm *HOTSEAT REQUIRED) Event 19 – Sr. Women’s 4+ – 11:30am (finals at 3:56pm) Event 23 – Sr. Men’s 4x – 12:12pm (finals at 4:24pm) Event 24 – Sr. Women’s 1x – 12:19pm (finals at 4:31pm) Event 29 – Jr. Women’s 4x – 1:15pm (finals at 5:06pm) Event 12 – Jr. Men’s 1x – 3:07pm (straight final *QUICK CHANGE REQUIRED) Event 35 – Sr. Women’s 8+ – 5:48pm (straight final)
“Hotseating” is when an athlete goes straight from one race into the next race, and the boating change is made on the dock. “Quick change” is when an athlete has a tight turnaround time after their first race, but still has enough time to return the boat before launching in their next race.
Weigh-Ins: There are NO weigh-ins at this regatta. Instead, the regatta runs on an honour system.
A Message for Moms: If your athlete’s crew makes their final and finishes top three, then moms are invited to give the medals to their athletes. Please stick around if you can 🙂
Arrival Times: Athletes in the Sr. Women’s 63kg 1x & Jr. Men’s 72kg 4+ should arrive by 6:30am. All other athletes should arrive AT LEAST 3 hours before your race (or in time for the first Westdale race of the day, which is at 9:10am).
Supervising Coaches: Alessandra will coordinating/supervising the Men’s Team, Eben Prevec & Anise Truman will be supervising the Women’s Eights/Singles/Fours, and Peter DeNew will be supervising the Jr. Women’s Quads. Tom Beshoff will be assisting in the morning.
Rigging Post-Regatta: Please plan to rig boats on Sunday evening when we return to Hamilton. There MIGHT be an option to rig on Monday morning, but this will be dictated by the Club Manager (Steffan Wagner). We’ll let you know as soon as we have information.
What to Bring:
-Long-sleeve top to race in UNDER your unisuit (often requested by race officials if weather is cold, windy, or rainy *the forecast is thunderstorms, so please bring this just in case!)
-Change of clothes (and extra socks – trust me!)
-Water (lots of water)
-Healthy snacks (trail mix, nuts, apples, granola bars, cliff bars, etc.)
-Lunch (and breakfast if needed)
-Rain gear/weather appropriate clothing (*BOOTS ARE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
-Sunscreen (*HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) *CHECK THE WEATHER – BRING BOOTS FOR THUNDERSTORMS*
What We Expect of You: You are expected to rig your boat, bring your blades down (when required), and ensure your crew is together. You should also know your race plan & be prepared with water/race-gear/food. Please be & remain with your crew once there’s 1.5h left to go until your race. If you have any questions, please find me (Alessandra), Eben, or Peter and we can assist you. Generally speaking, you should go to your primary coach if you have a question.
Resources for Parents: Our lovely parent reps, Dina & Brock Gadsdon, have kindly put together some informational material for parents planning to attend their athletes (what to expect, how to get there, Henley Island rules, how to avoid heat stroke, etc.). Please see the following documents for useful parent information:
1) Mothers Day Parent Information
2) Heat Stress Awareness Guide
Hopefully you feel that your practices have been productive so far. The first few weeks of rowing often involve a lot of technical work, drills, half-boat rowing, and lower-rate pieces. There’s a lot to learn in just a short amount of time, so keep your chin up and just remember: all of your crews have come a long way.
Due to limited equipment and the necessity to train in secondary boats for a few days while maintaining the “one practice per day” rule, please be patient as we rotate crews for training purposes. If you have any concerns or questions, you are always welcome to ask your coach(es). We’re here to help.
1) Men’s Team – Boatings for Friday PM & Saturday AM (this week only)
Friday PM (3:30pm) = Arnaud, Lucas, Harrison, James, Will *carpool from school lot at 3pm, by handicap ramp exit
Saturday AM (5:45am) = Max, Kieran, Harrison, Lucas *Tom will be coaching and he has your lights
The rest of the schedule for men’s team boatings will be posted later this weekend, once I’ve had a chance to confirm boating equipment with Steffan in order to replace broken riggers/etc.
2) Change for Swag Orders
For those of you in need of change for your swag orders (three of you in total), thank you for your patience. It takes a while to process everything and also to obtain change so we can provide you with the correct amount. Your change (and overview of the payment) will be available at Monday’s practice (AM & PM).
3) Stretching Addition to all Practices
We (the coaches) have found ourselves discussing flexibility quite a bit this week, so effective immediately, the following 6min 15second routine will be added to your day. Ideally, it would be great if you can do it together at the end of practice, or even at the school. As mentioned, it takes approximately 6:15 to complete. (*men’s team – you’re expected to complete this at the end of every practice as a group)
Whether this is done together in a group or alone, it must get done daily right through to the CSSRA regatta. Better flexibility equals a longer stroke, which equals more boat speed.
Flexibility in sweep boats is evident when bodies are able to split out (*not the same as lunging*) for full reach and a longer stroke (longer arc of the blade), like in the following picture:
Every gain that YOU make translates into more speed for your crew. Finally, you guys have done FAR too much work since November to have it compromised by a lack of flexibility.
See you all at practice,
Alessandra, Tom, and Mike