National Team rowers celebrated Canada Day with a couple of easily won races at the Henley Royal Regatta on the Thames River in England (June 30 to July 04, 2010).
Malcolm Howard, in the men's single, and a men's pair of Matt Jensen and Rares Crisan easily won their races at this regatta, which is also one of the highlights of the local social calendar.
Howard - a 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the men's eight - took command of his Diamond Challenge Cup race against the University of Hertfordshire's Dave Bell, winning in a time of eight minutes and 42 seconds to advance.
"It felt good to get that first race wrapped up nicely," said Howard of Victoria, B.C. who is rowing for Brentwood College at this regatta. "The atmosphere is great here and I'm looking forward facing the next challenger."
Howard's next race is tomorrow against Ian Lawson of Eton, England.
Lightweight rowers Matt Jensen of Innerkip, Ont. and Rares Crisan of Mississauga Ont. also "easily" beat a pair representing the Deeside Scullers today in 8.08.
"We did have a slow start, but inched away throughout what was a long race for us in the headwind," said Jensen, a veteran of international rowing. "It's good to have that first race under your belt, but we are expecting stiffer competition in the next round."
The men's pair event is the Silver Goblets and Nickalls' Challenge Cup, and Jensen and Crisan are representing Victoria City & Shawnigan Lake rowing clubs at Henley.
Unlike Olympic-style rowing, Henley does not distinguish between light and heavyweight rowers. The Canadian double of Doug Vandor and Cam Sylvester - one of the top lightweight doubles in the world - today faced a top heavyweight crew from New Zealand in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup. The Kiwis knocked the Canadians out of Henley, finishing today's round of racing in 7.36.
Both Brock University of St. Catharines, Ont. (over Grand Valley State University) and the University of Victoria (beating Eton College) won races today and continue their Henley campaigns in the Temple Challenge Cup student event.
This year 505 crews, including 116 from overseas, are entered in the Regatta - a tally up from 468 in 2009. Races are head-to-head knock out competitions, raced over a course of 1 mile, 550 yards (2,112 m).
Tomorrow the Canadian women make their first appearance at the Henley Royal.
A full list of the Canadian crews (with National Team athletes) is here:
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