Ontario University Development and Championship regattas took place in St. Catharines on Oct. 25-27 with the McMaster Marauders focused on larger-crew boats in a team-wide effort to improve performance. There were huge improvements seen throughout the season, as all 72 athletes benefited from the unique and dedicated coaching that McMaster Rowing boasts.
On a cold but sunny Friday, seven McMaster novice and junior-varsity crews competed in their final races of the season in the Development Regatta. The men’s novice eight crews finished fourth and fifth in the first and second heats respectively. They had the best races of their seasons, and the heavyweight crew finished ahead of the lightweight crew, completing the 2,000m course in 6:42.2.
The women’s novice eight crews similarly finished fifth and fourth in the first and second heats respectively. The top McMaster crew finished in a time of 7:29.7.
The McMaster junior varsity program had three boats racing on Friday. The heavyweight women’s doubles crews both finished fourth in heats one and two with a top time of 8:03.9 to qualify for finals, where they placed sixth. Finally, the heavy men’s coxed four crew of Sonu Dhanjal (coxie), Davin Power (stroke), Josh Havin, Brian Georgievski and Jason Rieger (bow) finished fourth in their heat with a time of 6:56.7.
The Championship Regatta got underway Sunday morning after a weather delay on Saturday. As the sun was rising, Rachel Dick qualified for finals in the lightweight women’s single, the first event of the day.
Next, the women’s heavyweight double of Jackie Bellemare and Devon Jones placed fifth in a very close heat, with a time of 7:52.1, while the heavyweight women’s coxed four (Mary Rao, Jennifer Bernhard, Aly Vogelzang, Erika Giovannetti, and Darcy Arends) qualified for their finals.
The men’s heavyweight coxed four (Thomas Salciccioli, Karl Zimmerman, Treden Simon, Keegan Travis, and Sonu Dhanjal) had the sixth fastest time in heats (6:30.8), but did not progress in a tough draw.
Finals action started with Rachel Dick racing into one of the team’s top results, finishing fourth (8:08.7) in the lightweight women’s single category.
The women’s coxed four had the other outstanding result, ripping through the course in a very close race to the line, and finishing fourth in 7:14.8. The lightweight men’s coxed four of Paul Steneker, Alec Mannarino, Ben Hartford, Drew Smith, and Jackie Watt came seventh in their final with a time of 6:57.8.
The final two events of the day were the heavyweight varsity eights. The women’s four group combined with Robin Mawson, Paige Klinkman, Rachel Dick, and Katie McGurk to race in a very close field, and ended in fifth while posting a time of 6:45.3.
Finally, the heavy men’s eight was composed of the lightweight and heavyweight men’s fours with Jackie Watt coxing, posting a time of 6:23.0 and earning seventh in the finals.
Although many crews had their sights set on placing, at the end of the regatta the team had shown that they are ready to compete in large boats and perform. McMaster’s women placed seventh as a team and the men placed 10th.
The McMaster rowing teams are looking to improve on their performances from the Ontario Championships this coming weekend, as they compete in the final regatta of the season, the Canadian university championships in Montreal on Nov. 2-3.