Mac rowers off to impressive start

Early signs are overwhelmingly positive for the Marauders rowing team, which won three of the seven combined categories it entered at the Western Invitational regatta this past weekend (Sept. 20-21).

The race in London was the first of the 2014 season for the Marauders, who have been training together daily since their varsity training camp wrapped up on Sept. 3.

(Photo: McMaster Athletics)

(Photo: McMaster Athletics)

The Western Invitational is a two-part event in which crews race a 4,000 metre course followed by a 400m sprint. The overall win is calculated from the results of both races, with a 10 times multiplier put on the shorter sprint.

Four Marauders entered the first event of the weekend – the singles. Drew Smith entered in the lightweight men’s division, Rachel Dick competed in the lightweight women’s race, and Karl Zimmermann and Thomas Salciccioli were entered in the heavyweight men’s class.

The singles crossed Fanshawe Lake together and all of the men lined up first. The race started with a high-rate sprint off the line, but quickly slowed to a more manageable pace. After five minutes, the pack had spread out and Zimmermann was in the lead group with Salciccioli close behind. Smith was holding his own with the lightweight group. As the course made a ninety degree right turn, Zimmermann pulled off the front and held the lead through to the line. The final results of the men’s single put Zimmermann in first in 16:30.8, with Salciccioli in fourth at 18:30.1. Smith came third in the lightweight category with a time of 18:42.9.

Rachel Dick started with the women’s group soon after the men, and cruised down the course for an uncontested victory in the women’s lightweight single.

Next to go was the fiercely competitive doubles race. McMaster had three doubles: Will Staples (bow) and Paul Steneker (stroke) for the lightweight men, Keegan Travis (bow) and Treden Simon (stroke) in the heavyweight men’s category, and finally, D’Arcy Arends (bow) and Aly Vogelzang (stroke) and Katie McGurk (bow) and Stacey Hepburn (stroke), both in the heavyweight women’s double.

Once again, the men started first, with Staples and Steneker coming second with a time of 16:10.6 in a very tight race. The Simon-Travis double fought two of the best crews in the country to place third in their event with a time of 16:37.4.

On the women’s side, Arends-Vogelzang won with a commanding performance in their long distance event, in a time of 17:48.9, with Hepburn-McGurk finishing third in 19:06.5.

Finally, McMaster entered a heavyweight men’s eight of Jackie Watt (coxie), Davin Power (stroke), Erik Bertram, Michael DiDonato, Logan Madill, Ben Anthony, John Butler, Jordan Stevenson and Cole Creaney (bow). The Mac squad found themselves in an incredibly fast race with two crews from Brock and Western, who will likely be competing for the overall victory at the Canadian University Championships this November. But they put in a great showing with a time of 14:07.5 to place seventh.

The women’s lightweight eight consisted of Stephanie Paoli (coxie), Erin Ross (stroke), Michelle Hayman, Amanda Hroncok, Jackie Bellemare, Angela Haufler, Sarah Zhou, Krystina McKay and Elle Rasmussen (bow). The women placed second behind a Brock boat, crossing the line in a time of 18:03.20.

After the conclusion of the 4,000m races, the winds started to pick up, so the 400m sprints were quickly started into a gruelling headwind.

In the heavyweight men’s single, Zimmermann and Salciccioli placed first and second, with times of 1:42.2 and 1:44.6 respectively. This gave Zimmermann the overall win and ranked Salciccioli third.

Smith raced his dash in a time of 1:59.5 to place third in the overall men’s lightweight single.

In the doubles, Staples and Steneker threw down a strong time of 1:35.7 to push them into first overall in the lightweight men’s double, while Simon-Travis finished in 1:48.4 to finish third in both the sprint and overall standings in the heavyweight men’s double.

Once again, Arends-Vogelzang and McGurk-Hepburn came first and second in the women’s heavyweight doubles with times of 1:53.4 and 1:59.8 respectively. This gave Aly and D’Arcy the overall win in this category, with Katie and Stacey placing second.

The men’s eight had an impressive sprint, with a time of 1:28.0 for fifth place, which pushed them into fifth overall.

The women’s lightweight eight finished second in 1:49.8 for a second place overall.

At the day’s conclusion, the Mac team brought home three medals from seven categories, an impressive feat for any school.

On Sunday (Sept. 28), the Guelph Gryphons will travel to Hamilton to race the Mac-Guelph Challenge. This is a head-to-head race of the top varsity and novice eights from each school. This will also be the first chance for the McMaster Novice team to duel another Ontario University Athletics school.

After that, the entire Mac team travels to Peterborough on Oct. 4 for the Head of the Trent regatta.

More from Rowing

Mac rowers indoor challenge draws large field

(Photo: Austin Cameron/McMaster Athletics)

Anticipated as the final race of the winter season, this year’s categories were opened to include a full complement of high school divisions, along with open and mixed club categories.