Queen’s wins boat race third year in a row

Gaels win five of eight events at spring regatta

The varsity men’s crew strikes a victory pose after sweeping their events in Montreal on April 30, 2006.
The varsity men’s crew strikes a victory pose after sweeping their events in Montreal on April 30, 2006.

Amidst the hectic conclusion of exams, the rowing team won five of eight events at the 10th annual Queen’s McGill boat race on April 30, capturing the D. Lorne Gales Trophy, awarded for most overall points.

Capturing the overall title marked the third straight victory and fifth overall for Queen’s in the 10-year history of the competition. The men’s victory was their third straight and fourth overall, while the loss by the varsity women saw the end of a six-year winning streak.

“The Queen’s-McGill boat race is very important to us,” Head Coach John Armitage said. “A lot of pride is attached to it.”

This race was the first event on the water following a winter of training. It was held on April 30th at the Lachine Canal in Montreal where the first Canadian Intercollegiate Rowing Championship took place in 1924.

“Some of the guys were putting in three or four hours a day of training, six days a week from December until we got back on the water in late March to early April,” said Dave Carnegie, varsity men’s captain.

“Coming into the race, I think we had mixed feelings about what our chances were.”

“Our coach Rob Watering made sure that we didn’t go into the long race overconfident.” The race’s timing at the end of the year also placed extra challenges on some of the rowers, Carnegie said.

“Two other guys, Stu [Robinson] and Colin [Sutherland], had to move out of their old house and into a new house the day of the race, so after the race they drove straight back to Kingston and were up into the early hours of the morning moving,” Carnegie said.

“I was particularly impressed with Simon Gowdy, our stroke man,” he said. Gowdy, who was taking courses at Simon Fraser University, flew in from British Columbia especially for the race.

If there was any fatigue or rust it didn’t show.

The varsity men’s crew swept their events. They won the 3.2 kilometre race by a margin of 14 seconds and finished the 700 metre sprint with a lead of 2.46 seconds.

The varsity women’s crew was less fortunate in their outing, losing their 3.2 kilometre race by 2.67 seconds and the 700 metre sprint by 2.17 seconds.

McGill jumped to an early lead in the longer race, but it didn’t last long. Queen’s pulled even by the one kilometre mark.

“We minimized their lead by pushing back and knowing that they had the course advantage going through the first part of the race,” said Sarah Roth, varsity women’s captain.

“We knew we had to make a big move when the course turned in our favour to get ahead of McGill-which we did successfully taking half a boat length on them.”

Queen’s led by as much as two seconds with 700 metres remaining but failed to pull out a victory, Roth said.

“With 700 metres remaining, we didn’t have a big enough lead to secure the race as we were very well matched with McGill,” she said. “It was still either crew’s race. McGill made a big push with 500 metres to go and took two seats on us, enough to give them the lead and finish just ahead as we entered the final strokes of the race,” Roth said. “Although the results were not what we wanted it was a very good race between both Queen’s and McGill,” she added.

In the end it was the points accumulated by Queen’s Varsity Development program that proved to be the deciding factor in the overall victory. The novice women defeated McGill in both the 3.2 kilometre race and the 700 metre sprint and the novice men rebounded from a loss in their first race to win the sprint.

“We are looking forward to bringing these girls into the varsity team and building together for a strong fall season,” Roth said.

“I am particularly impressed with our novice women who are rowing this summer and plan to make the jump to varsity next year,” added Armitage.

The event also marked the last time some of the rowers will be competing for Queen’s. The team will be losing Dave Carnegie, Ashley Sutherland, Nicole Bobbette, Matt Hunter, Bill York and Ness Kenalty to graduation, but if the development program continues to produce top calibre athletes who can win at high levels of competition Queen’s is in no danger of losing this event any time soon.

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