Niagara area rowers start strong at World Rowing Cup


rowingThe international rowing season began early with the Samsung World Rowing Cup (Mar. 22-24) kicking off in Australia at the Sydney Olympic Regatta Course in Penrith.

The women’s quad event was first to push off and the Canadian boat of Emily Cameron of Summerside, PEI, Kerry Shaffer of Welland, Carling Zeeman of Cambridge, ON., and Kate Goodfellow of Ottawa, was third in a heat in 06:39.55, and will row in a rep on Saturday. The U.S. and New Zealand crews advanced directly to the final in this event, and all others go to the rep to attempt to advance.

In the women’s pair event, the young combination of Christine Roper of Victoria, BC, and Sarah Black of Ottawa were also third in a heat in 07:45.64, and row in a rep on Saturday to attempt to lock up a position in the final.

The lightweight women’s double of Lindsay Sferrazza of St. Catharines, and Jaclyn Halko of Uxbridge, Ont. were fourth in 07:29.69 – with only the winner advancing, this double will row in Saturday’s rep.

Also rowing in the women’s single, Zeeman was third in her heat and will row in the rep to advance. American Eleanor Logan won this race, followed by a Chinese sculler, Bin Tang. Top two in each heat advanced.

Halko won a lightweight single rep in 08:04.89 to advance directly to the A final in this event. Her lightweight teammate, Sferrazza, was second in a heat and then won her rep to advance to the A final, which will be held on Saturday. Halko and Sferrazza, both former Western University athletes, had a busy day Friday, rowing in two events – the lightweight single and double.

The women’s eight was second in its heat on Friday, and will row in the rep on Saturday to have the chance to row in the final. Great Britain won the heat in 6:47.68 to advance directly. Canada was second in 6:54.39, follow by two Chinese eights.

The eight for this first World Cup is Lesley Thompson-Willie of London, Darcy Marquardt of Richmond, BC, Ashley Brzozowicz of Peterborough, ON, Krista Guloien of Port Moody, BC, Goodfellow, Black of Ottawa, ON, Roper, Carolyn Ganes of Saskatoon, Sask., and Shaffer.

“This is a good group of athletes and, for the younger members of the team, there were a lot of lessons learned today about racing at this level,” said Rowing Canada Aviron High Performance Director, Peter Cookson. “It will be fun to watch them progress through this event.”

In contrast to the current chilly Canadian weather, the athletes are facing 30 plus degree heat in the late Australian summer.