It was a stellar day for some of Canada's top rowers as the 42nd annual Head of the Charles regatta wrapped up today in Boston.
Current National Team members 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. defended University of British Columbia's title in the Championship Fours men's event. They beat out Stanford, USRowing and Harvard, the other top boats in this high-quality field to come first in 15:38.135.
Canadian crews took the top three spots in the women's Championship Fours - UBC (17:58.204); then only a second back in 17:59.401 was London Training Centre and University of Victoria completing the sweep in third. The winners are 2006 National Team members Anna-Marie de Zwager of Victoria, Courtney MacIntosh of St. John's, Nfld., Nathalie Maurer of Vancouver, and Zoe Hoskins of Edmonton, Alta. rowing under UBC's colours.
Canada's lightweight men dedicated their race to National Lightweight Coach Bent Jensen, who will undergo surgery in his native Denmark this week.
"We knew what we had to accomplish," said two-time Olympian Iain Brambell after today's first placing at the Charles. "We were motivated and wanted to send Bent a positive message - we owe him a lot and we want him to get well and return soon."
Winning the lightweight eights was the talent-laden boat of 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., John Haver of Saskatoon, Sask. and coxswain Steve Cheng of Toronto, Ont. Beare is also a two-time Olympian, and many of the others have medaled at the World level including Steve Cheng, the coxswain, who took a World silver this year with the coxed four. Their time was 14:28.639.
The lightweight women's eight (London Training Centre) - a boat with several current National Team members including two-time 2006 World Cup medallist Tracy Cameron of Shubenacadie, N.S. - also ran away with their event today, winning in 16:31.65. Canada's Quinte Rowing Club took sixth place in the same event.
"I use this regatta to get the women keen and excited about training again," said Laryssa Biesenthal, lightweight women's coach. Brian Price, the National Team men's coxswain, guided the lightweight women to victory today. "Brian gets more out of the women that what they think is possible. It was a great day for the lightweights."
In the women's eight, London Training Centre's boat was second (15:54.637) to the Princeton Training Center (USRowing) who finished in 15:36.733. The LTC boat is Canada's 2006 National Team women's eight including legendary coxswain Lesley Thompson-Willie.
"Lesley was amazing," said eights member Andreanne Morin of Montreal, Que. "She's rowed here almost 30 times and it shows. We were a little disappointed to come second to Princeton (with many US National Team rowers), but we know what we have to work on this winter."
The University of Washington - including Canadian National teamers Rob Gibson of Kingston, Ont., Max Lang of Lumby, B.C., Will Crothers of Kingston - was second to the USRowing Princeton Training centre in the Championship men's eight. University of Victoria was 16th in the men's eight.
The University of Victoria won the lightweight women's fours, which they also did last year. UBC was fourth, Argonaut Rowing Club was fifth and Brock (St. Catharines) was ninth.
The Ottawa Rowing Club again won the lightweight men's fours in 16:46.840, with National rowers Paul Amesbury and Jeff Dunbrack. Brock University was third in the same event and Kingston Rowing Club was seventh.
The University of Washington - including Canadian National Teamers Rob Gibson of Kingston, Ont., Max Lang of Lumby, B.C., Will Crothers of Kingston - was second to the USRowing's Princeton Training Center in the Championship men's eight. University of Victoria was 16th in the men's eight.
Western Rowing Club and National Team rower Matt Jensen of Innerkip, Ont. was third in the lightweight single in 18:29.827. Richard Montgomery of New York won this event in 18:20.925. Western Rowing club's women's entry (Lisa Carey-Moore) was fifth, followed by Michelle Prince of the Ridley Grad Boat Club in the lightweight women's singles.
Canadian schools were one, two, in the Collegiate Eights for men - Western (London) was first in 15:08.301, with Queen's (Kingston) in second - Brock University (St. Catharines) with 12th and McGill (Montreal) was 15th.
Brock also did well in the women's Collegiate Eights - coming in second in 17:22.348. Queen's and Trent (Peterborough) were sixth and seventh respectively out of 57 boats competing in this event.
Ottawa Rowing Club's Jason Rose won the Club Singles in 19:22.933; Catherine Crawley of the Argonaut Rowing Club (Toronto) was second in the women's event even after being assessed a 10-second penalty. Carrie Stasiak of St. Catharines was 14th.
Dale Hawkins of the Vancouver Rowing Club convincingly won the Masters Singles (men) in 18:39.363 out of the 21 rowers who finished this race.
St. Catharines Rowing Club's Youth Eights (women) were third in 17:48.76, with Welland's South Niagara Rowing Club in fourth in 17:55.23, the next best Canadian entry was Ottawa Rowing Club in 22nd.
St. Catharines Rowing Club (Alex Doan, Nick Schuldo) was fifth in the Youth Doubles (men) in 18:39.616
In the same event for women, Youth Doubles, St. Catharines Rowing Club (Laurel Sisler, Laura Cowal) again took fifth out of 21 boats. South Niagara Rowing Club (Alexandria Almeida, Justine Galbraith) were 10th in the same event.
The Youth Fours for men was topped by a Canadian crew from St. Catharines in 17:23.863, with several other strong Canadian finishes - Upper Canada College in fifth, South Niagara Rowing Club in 14th and London Rowing Club in 18th were the highlights in a field of more than 50 crews.
In the Youth fours for women - Association Québécoise d'Aviron - the Quebec rowing federation's entry was the top Canadian boat at ninth out of 50.
Jim O'Brien, Vancouver Rowing Club (rowing with others in a boat called "Slugs of Misery," was first (adjusted 16:38.391) - Director's Challenge Quads Men.
Earlier this morning, in the Senior-Veteran men (over 70) Canadians John Elgar (12th), James Lyttle (20th) and Peter Copland (25th) competed in the first event of the day. In the Veteran singles Don McSween (ninth) and John Sherrick (18th) were among the Canadian participants.