Rowers have stellar summer

Braden Novakowski running to a podium placing last weekend in Montreal.
Braden Novakowski running to a podium placing last weekend in Montreal.
Shane Lakins
Morgan Jarvis (left) and Simon Gowdy brought home two bronze medals from the World Under-23 Rowing Championships.
Morgan Jarvis (left) and Simon Gowdy brought home two bronze medals from the World Under-23 Rowing Championships.

Queen’s lightweight rowers Simon Gowdy and Morgan Jarvis did not have a typical summer vacation. Gowdy and Jarvis were named to the Under 23 National Team that represented Canada at the world championships in Poznan, Poland this past August.

In an event that has been traditionally dominated by Europeans, Jarvis’ crew earned Canada’s first-ever medal in the event. Gowdy, not to be outdone, added another bronze to the Canadian medal tally.

Gowdy was selected as a member of the lightweight four. In this highly competitive event, with 14 entries from countries all over the world, Gowdy’s crew was able to capture the bronze medal.

Gowdy was in the four seat, meaning he set the stroke rate, one of the most important parts of racing.

The four men easily garnered a spot in the six-boat final after winning their preliminary heat and their semi-final. In the 2000-metre final, the Canadians had to battle strong headwinds and a breakneck pace set by the other crews.

They were slow off the line and quickly found themselves in last place, but were able to gather their speed and pass the Dutch and French crews within the first 500 metres to put themselves in fourth place.

“Our strategy was to row longer and at a lower rate compared with the rest of the crews,” Gowdy said.

The tactic paid off as the Canadians passed the Danish crew with 750 meters to go and the Italians soon afterwards.

At the line, however, the Italians narrowly beat out the Canadian crew for the silver medal, leaving Gowdy and company with the bronze. Germany won the race with half a boat of open water.

“After the initial disappointment of not winning the race passed, I became elated,” Gowdy said. “As I was standing on the podium, I realized what a great accomplishment it was to share that pedestal with crews of such high calibre, some of whom were crying with joy.”

Jarvis represented Canada in the lightweight doubles, along with his partner John Haver of the University of Saskatchewan.

Like the lightweight four, they too had a fairly easy time getting to the final, cruising through both their initial heat and their semi. They came into the final with high expectations and were able to get an early lead in the race.

“We always had strong starts and we were actually leading the race until the 1000-metre mark (halfway),” Jarvis said.

That’s when the Hungarians and the Portuguese, who had been pushing hard, rowed through them.

In the last 500 metres of the race the Canadians were solidly in third place. The team from Poland was charging strong at the end, but the Canadians prevailed to earn a second bronze medal, with Hungary and Portugal placing first and second respectively.

“After winning the heats and semis we felt we could win the final, so we were initially a bit disappointed with third place,” Jarvis said.

But, like Gowdy, the enormity of his accomplishment started to set in after seeing the joy of the other medal-winning crews.

“It was an amazing experience,” Jarvis said. “It was such a great feeling to row with the maple leaf on our oars, representing our country and bringing home a medal.”

Both Simon and Morgan are eligible to compete at the Senior B world championships next year and are strong prospects to compete for Canada at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

A new addition to the Queen’s Lightweight crew, Colin Sutherland, was also named as a spare to the Junior National Team that competed in Spain this summer. Colin participated in the spares race and finished seventh.

Several other Queen’s rowers competed and brought home medals from the prestigious Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, the biggest summer regatta in North America in August.

Daniel Scarrow and Bill York were members of the winning boat in Senior B lightweight four, and Stuart Robinson and Liam Colgan finished a very close second. Colgan also won the Senior B lightweight pair title, while Dean Raso, Kevin Walker, and Kevin Caners won the Senior 140-pound four. Dave Carnegie and Liam Colgan finished second in the Senior A lightweight pair, in the Senior B lightweight four.

Morgan Waddell, Jenny Hogsden and Ness Kenalty won an incredible five gold medals, a number of wins rare to see at this competitive regatta, even over one’s entire rowing career. They were absolutely dominant in the five lightweight women’s events. Connie Dayboll, a new addition to Queen’s rowing came home with the gold in the Senior B lightweight pair.

It was one of the strongest showings ever by Queen’s rowers in a summer regatta.

Last weekend, Queen’s crews competed at the Western Invitational, a unique regatta where crews row both a head (long distance) and a sprint race, before the two results are combined to determine the overall winner.

Queen’s rowers dominated the regatta, winning the lightweight women’s eight and the lightweight men’s eight and four, and placing second in the women’s heavy eight and lightweight men’s double.

The highlight of the day was the lightweight men’s eight’s two-second victory in the head race over Brock, the school that has dominated lightweight rowing in Canada for the past few years The team’s next major regatta takes place next weekend, when they will compete at Head of the Trent in Peterborough.

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