No upsets for men’s rowing

Men’s rowing can’t catch up to Brock and Western in St. Catherine’s

The weekend’s results at the OUA Finals in St. Catharine’s show that the men’s rowing program still needs to find replacements for the 2008 athletic class in order to regain top-tier status. The men finished third in the OUA with 49 points, ahead of them were Brock with 108 points and Western with 107 points.

The heavyweight men’s program highlighted the weekend with a 2nd place finish in the eight. With a large athlete turnover and a third place finish last year the heavyweight program entered the 2010 season with tempered expectations.

“We’ve lost six of our returning athletes from last year,” said head coach John Armitage. “We had a couple of injuries and [heavyweight men’s coach] Nathan Splinter worked with them all season.”

Splinter modified the traditional structure for boat selection in order to improve their results.

Usually the top boat at Queen’s is set in the beginning of September after tryouts so that the rowers have all season to race together and mesh as a unit. Timing and boat coordination are vital to the sport, so this long session is thought to maximize boat speed.

“He actually didn’t name his final crew until the end of the season,” Armitage said. “He took these guys from nowhere to second place.”

Splinter decided to hold a second round of tryouts at the beginning of October instead of holding his chosen crew in order to make sure he had the right athletes selected and to provide motivation for the athletes to continue training hard. The heavy men also added a third place finish in the four and a fourth place finish in the double.

While not widely successful, the heavyweight men enjoyed improvements that will be vital in the years to come and Splinter was nominated for Coach of the Year.

The lightweight program didn’t achieve any gains in their championship weekend. The eight-man crew held onto their third place position from Brock Invitationals two weeks earlier coming in third behind Brock and Western. However, the lightweight four that had finished only one second behind Brock in the earlier regatta, fell to 5th place, behind Brock, Western, McGill and McMaster. The lightweight double also closed in at a low 6th.

The Canadian University championships in Victoria this weekend will provide the men one last chance for redemption to close out the season. The heavyweight men’s eight and the lightweight four will remain largely intact as the team travels to British Columbia to compete against Canadian competition. With potentially heavy competition from the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria, Armitage said the team must not become distracted by unknown competition.

“[We] just need to focus on ourselves and do what we do best,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see them improve on their OUA performance.” The men will join the women at the CIS championships in Victoria B.C. this weekend.

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