A number of Canada's top National Team members will row this weekend at one of North America's largest regattas, the Head of the Charles in Boston.
Though not an official part of the National Team calendar, the Charles is a favourite of rowers of all levels.
World Champions Jane Rumball of Fredericton, N.B. and Darcy Marquardt of Richmond, B.C., who were gold medallists in the women's pair event at Eton, England this year, will row solo in the Championship women's single, along with fellow national training centre ahtletes Peggy Hyslop of Kamloops, B.C. and Kerry Trainor of London, Ont. Rumball, who trains in London, Ont., is rowing to help raise money for cancer.
Four of Canada's top heavyweight men will row for the University of British Columbia (UBC) in the Championship coxed four event - Rob Weitemeyer of Coquitlam, B.C,. Jamie Faris of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Ben Rutledge of Richmond, B.C. and Peter Dembicki of West Vancouver, B.C. are attempting to defend UBC's title in this event.
2006 World bronze medallists in the men's pair - Kevin Light of Sidney, B.C. and Malcolm Howard of Victoria - are in the Championship men's single event. Two-time World Champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand is also entered in this event.
The London Training Centre is sending the women's eight that was fifth at this year's Worlds. Members of the eight are Sarah Bonikowsky of Orangeville, Ont., Heather Mandoli of Kelowna, B.C., Andreanne Morin of Montreal, Que., Romina Stefancic of Victoria, B.C., Kaylan Vander Schilden of Victoria, B.C., Katie Reynolds of St. John, N.B., Ashley Brzozowicz of Toronto, Ont. Sabrina Kolker of West Vancouver, B.C., and (coxswain) Lesley Thompson-Willie of London, Ont. The London Training Centre holds the course record set in 2003 (15:31.08) in this event.
National Team member Matt Jensen of Innerkip, Ont. will row in the lightweight single event.
The Victoria Training Centre has a strong lightweight men's eight entered with several top rowers - Liam Parsons of Thunder Bay, Ont., Iain Brambell of Victoria, B.C., Jon Beare of Toronto, B.C., Mike Lewis of Victoria, B.C, Trevor Young of Toronto, Ont., John Sasi of North Delta, B.C., Jeff Bujas of Grimsby, Ont., and John Haver of Saskatoon, Sask. and coxswain Steve Cheng of Toronto, Ont. Cheng won a silver medal with the men's coxed four at this year's World Championships, and Beare and Brambell are two-time Olympians.
Mark Laidlaw, coxswain of the 2006 Under-23 men's eight, will cox the UVic men's boat in the Championship eight event on Sunday.
The London Training Centre Championship coxed four will be Lindsay Forget of Aurora, Ont., Sandra Kisil of Hamilton, Ont., Krista Guloien of Vancouver, B.C. and Cristin McCarty of Saskatoon, Sask. and coxswain Emma Ferguson of Victoria, who picked up a bronze medal with an adaptive crew at this year's World Championships.
The London Training Centre lightweight women's eight will defend its Charles title and includes National Team men's cox Brian Price and notables World Cup winner Tracy Cameron of Shubenacadie, N.S., Lindsay Jennerich of Victoria, Amber Cuthbertson of Harrowsmith, Ont., Sheryl Preston of North Delta, B.C., and Christine Bennett of Edmonton, Alta., among others.
Several top Canadians will also be contending in U.S. college crews.
Rob Gibson of Kingston, Ont., Max Lang of Lumby, B.C., Will Crothers of Kingston, who picked up silver in Eton and gold at the Under-23 Worlds, will race with the University of Washington in the Championship men's eight; and Dan Casaca of Toronto, Jan Tize of West Vancouver, B.C. and Max Wyatt of Victoria, also Under-23 gold medalists, will be in the University of California - Berkeley eight.
Former National Team members also enjoy the challenge of the Charles. Three-time Olympic gold medallist Marnie McBean will once again be in the Long Beach Rowing Association Women's Master's eight, defending champions in this event.
Several former National Team members will be part of other boats, including the typically strong Leander Boat Club (Hamilton, Ont.) entered in the Senior Masters Men's eight.
Over the past 42 years, the Head Of The Charles regatta has grown to include more than 8,000 athletes from around the world competing in 26 different race events. The regatta grew to a two-day event in 1997 and now attracts up to 300,000 spectators on the banks of the three-mile course on the Charles River.
Many Canadian rowing clubs will be sending crews to the Charles this weekend (Oct. 21 to 22). Follow the results at http://www.hocr.org/