Canadian crews ended their Paralympic campaign today with two respectable finishes - ending up sixth and seventh in the world.
Women's single, Joan Reid of Enderby, B.C., finished sixth overall. "I met my goal... to make the A final," said Reid. "This experience has been so great. It's more than I ever imagined it would be."
Alla Lysenko of Ukraine continued her winning streak, dominating this race to win in 5:35.29. The rest of the field played out like this: France in second in 5:43.56, Belarus getting bronze in 5:47.54; followed by Brazil (5:47.86), Israel (5:48.67) and Canada in 5:55.92.
Rowers in the ASW1x event use only their arms and shoulders to power the boats, which are adapted for use in this event.
Reid, 51, had taken a few years off from international rowing. In her last World Championships in 2007, she was eighth, so making the A final at the Paralympics was a solid result for the single sculler.
"She rowed her heart out today," said Jeff Dunbrack, lead Para-rowing coach. "She did everything we (he and coach Martin George) asked of her. We wanted her to make the A final. This was a really good regatta for Joan."
The Canadian LTA 4+ crew also ended on a high note today, winning its B final to finish seventh overall.
"We came in today to walk away with a win in the B final and our plan was to be explosive off the start and stay with France," said the youngest member of the crew, 20-year-old David Blair. "Through the body of the race, we needed to stay strong and long because we knew we'd be able to outlast them in the end."
The depth in the B final of this event (where rowers use legs, truck and arms) is evidence of the progress of adaptive rowing over the past few years. Canada won in 3:31.17, France is eighth overall in 3:32.01, followed by Brazil (3:36.58), Ireland (3:36.72), Russia (3:42.73), and Belarus (3:45.18).
Pleasing the capacity crowd, Great Britain later won the gold medal in this event in 3:19.38 - overtaking Germany who took silver (3:21.44). Ukraine finished in bronze position (3:23.22).
The Canadian crew is Anthony Theriault (Nanaimo, BC), David Blair (Ottawa, ON), Victoria Nolan (Toronto, ON), Meghan Montgomery (Winnipeg, MB) and coxswain Kristen Kit (St. Catharines, ON) "It was a good way to finish the Paralympic regatta," said Theriault, who also competed in this event in Beijing in 2008. "Sport doesn't always go the way your train and race for - you've got to refocus, not re-wind. It was great to have France, Ireland and Brazil with us all the way."
The Canadians were World Champions in 2010 and silver medalists last year, but did not make the A final here, as many countries had shown improvement in the Paralympic year. Still, they had a good race today to end the regatta on a high note for Canada.
"Everybody responded to my calls," said coxswain Kit. "It was phenomenal."