Slight slide in stature

Gold for Davenport Huyer, women fourth and men seventh

The men’s rowing team finished seventh at the Canadian University Rowing Championships, while the women finished in fourth.
The men’s rowing team finished seventh at the Canadian University Rowing Championships, while the women finished in fourth.

The rowing teams returned from the Canadian University Rowing Championships (CURC) with medals in two events, but without an overall podium finish.

Queen’s women’s finished one spot away from the podium, while men’s team took seventh place at the national event.

Larkin Davenport Huyer won gold in the women’s single race, while the women’s lightweight four crew picked up a bronze medal.

Head coach John Armitage said he was impressed by his team’s results. The competition marked the end of the coach’s 38-year tenure at the helm of the Gaels program.

“Of course the highlight was Larkin Davenport Huyer winning the single,” Armitage said. “That was the first time in the 18 years of the event that Queen’s has ever won that event.”

Armitage said that both the men’s and women’s boats performed to their potential.

“We’ve got a lot of rowers competing at this level for the first time in their lives and I’m really pleased with the performance of both teams,” he said.

The women’s lightweight double and eight crews both finished fifth in their events, marking the eight’s best result of the season.

“In a sport like ours where you can’t control how fast your competitors are going, if you’ve done your very best in your last race, then you’ve done a good job,” Armitage said.

On the men’s side, the lightweight double placed fourth and the lightweight four finished fifth in their respective heats.

The Gaels brought home five medals at last year’s national meet. The women had two silver and two bronze-medal finishes, ending up in third place overall.

The men earned a single medal in 2013 — silver in the lightweight four — and finished fifth in Canada.

A silver medalist in the women’s single last year, Davenport Huyer said she enjoyed this year’s race more.

“The single performance was a ton of fun,” she said. “Really good race results made it more fun.”

She was also impressed by the women in her heavyweight eight boat.

“It was the best race we’ve ever had,” Davenport Huyer said. “There was nothing but positive outcomes.”

Having rowed under Armitage for three years, Davenport Huyer said the coach’s final races were an emotional affair.

“We cried together,” she said. “He will be greatly missed.”

Matt Christie, who won gold at last month’s Ontario championships, raced in the men’s lightweight double and four at the CURCs.

“Races were a lot closer than I thought they would be,” Christie said.

At the start of the double, Christie’s partner fumbled a few strokes and the Gaels found themselves almost 90 metres behind the pack.

The men rallied, caught the pack and moved into third place.

“In the last six strokes, my partner passed out,” Christie said. “Completely blacked out and the [fourth-place] boat caught us.

“It was a lot of fun,” Christie said. “He was fine afterwards.”

With the season over, Christie said the off-season is the time for future medal chasers to distinguish themselves.

“A common saying is medals are won in the summer but earned in the winter,” he said.

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