Mac rowers finish strong at university finals

The McMaster men’s and women’s rowing teams each finished eighth at the recent 17th Canadian University Rowing Championships where 330 athletes from 26 different schools across Canada competed.

McMaster's 2013 rowing team.  (Photo: McMaster Athletics)

McMaster’s 2013 rowing team. (Photo: McMaster Athletics)

Time trials got underway on the morning of Nov. 2, with Keegan Travis in the heavyweight men’s single. He pulled through the line in 10th place, qualifying for the ‘B’ final. Jennifer Bernhard and Alyssa Vogelzang raced down the time trial course in the heavy women’s pair later that morning, ranking 11th.

As the wind and rain picked up, the heavyweight coxed men’s eight of Treden Simon, Travis, Drew Smith, Paul Steneker, Alec Mannarino, Ben Hartford, Karl Zimmerman, Thomas Salciccioli and Jacqueline Watt finishing ninth overall.

D’Arcy Arends in the heavy women’s single and Rachel Dick in the lightweight women’s single started the afternoon session off by placing 12th and ninth respectively in their time trials. Salciccioli and Zimmermann crossed the line in 11th place in the heavyweight men’s pair.

In the lightweight men’s coxed four, Smith, Steneker, Mannarino, Hartford and Watt in the lightweight men’s four pulled off a 12th-placed seeding to make the ‘B’ finals.

In the women’s coxed eight, Vogelzang, Bernhard, Erika Giovanetti, Arends, Paige Klinkman, Robin Mawson, Dick, Katie McGurk, and Mary Rao placed sixth.

The finals were set for Nov. 3 from the time trial rankings, with the McMaster women’s eight making the ‘A’ final, and all other McMaster crews racing in ‘B’ finals.

The morning started bright and early with Travis racing the men’s single. In a spectacular drive during the last 300 metres, he pushed past the Queen’s and University of Victoria boats.

The heavy women’s pair ended up sixth in their final, won by the University of Saskatchewan crew. The heavy men’s eight held their line to place third in their final against Carleton and St. Francis Xavier.

Arends raced the heavy women’s single to a second-place finish in the ‘B’ final, and eighth overall, beating her Saturday seeding of 12th.

The men’s pair raced down the course to a fourth-place finish in their final, again advancing one place over Saturday’s results.

The Marauder rowers cheered as Dick had an outstanding performance, winning her final decisively against McGill, St. Francis Xavier, Carleton, Guelph, and Alberta.

The lightweight men’s four had the highlight of the weekend for the men’s team, finishing third in their final, beating three more crews than they had on Saturday.

To finish the regatta, the women’s eight finished sixth in the ‘A’ final, keeping pace with the other crews from the day before.

Marauder head coach Steffan Wagner was encouraged by his team’s showing over the course of the weekend.

“The team seems excited and ready to commit to improving their performance from today,” he said. “It is a very exciting time to be rowing at McMaster with all the dedicated athletes and coaches.”

The race marked the end of the fall season for the Marauders, and the start of the winter training where the team will compete in indoor competitions, go south during reading week for training camp and get ready for spring racing.

McMaster rowers compete for Team Ontario

Two McMaster rowers, Salciccioli (bow) and Zimmermann (stroke), competed in the championship regatta in the heavyweight senior men’s pair event, racing under Team Ontario colours at the National Rowing Championships the following weekend in Welland.

This event attracts the top Canadian rowers, including past and present Olympians and national team members.

Karl Zimmerman and Thomas Salciccioli, rowing for Team Ontario, came in 12th at the Canada rowing nationals. (Photo: McMaster Athletics)

Karl Zimmerman and Thomas Salciccioli, rowing for Team Ontario, came in 12th at the Canada rowing nationals. (Photo: McMaster Athletics)

Their racing began Friday morning (Nov. 8) when they led the heat for the first 1,500m of the two kilometer course. From that performance, they advanced out of their heat in the winning bracket. Saturday morning had them racing in quarter-finals against five other top crews in the country. Although conditions were very windy, the two advanced through the winning bracket to the semi-finals, ranked 12th.

Unfortunately, water conditions were extremely rough, and the forecast was for more wind and rain. At lunch on Saturday, the race organizers were forced to cancel the planned regatta schedule and institute a straight-to-final time trial for the morning of the 10th. The top crews from each event would race down the two kilometer course against the clock.

Salciccioli and Zimmermann ended up 12th out of 27 crews, a result they were very happy with. They believe that more racing experience will bring them to the next level, and races such as the weekend’s are perfect for this purpose.

It was the last regatta of 2013, and the pair is very pleased with ending the eight-month campaign this way. Rowing started for Salciccioli and Zimmermann in early April with the McMaster team, before transitioning into the summer season, where they raced for Leander Boat Club. They had exciting successes with Leander, highlighted by a second-place finish in the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta’s dash eight final.

They plan on getting as much time on-water as possible before Hamilton Harbour freezes over, and then focusing on winter training until the water opens up again in the spring.