Rowers compete at under-23 worlds

Three Gaels race for Canada in Poland 

Munro, Stone, and Bernst in Poland.
Photo supplied by Alex Bernst
While it felt like any other race, it definitely wasn’t for the three Queen’s rowers who showcased a summer of hard work on the international stage this past weekend. 

Alex Bernst, Louise Munro, and Gavin Stone represented Queen’s while competing for Team Canada at the under-23 World Rowing Championships. The tournament was held in Poznan, Poland, from July 25 to 29.

Bersnt, racing in the under-23 Men’s Lightweight Double, won the C final with teammate Vlad Tminskyi, placing 13th at the event. The duo narrowly missed qualifying for the A/B final, but were overall satisfied with their races.

The biggest difference at the international level was the competitors, Bernst told The Journal in a phone interview from Poland. “A lot of the time, it’s a person you’ve read about or seen race before, and then you get to line up beside them, and it’s like, ‘Woah.’” 

Munro, racing in the under-23 Women’s Quadruple Sculls, placed fifth at the competition. Though she’s accustomed to racing as a single or double, Munro gained experience in a larger boat as part of the quad. She said racing alongside three other rowers is a new dynamic.

“You can’t race the race alone,” Munro said. “You make sure that you’re doing it together, so that was pretty cool.”
Munro, who is heading into her third year with the Gaels’ rowing program, added the experience abroad will send her and her teammates back to Queen’s with a new level of perspective. 

“The motivation will be extended to the team,” she said. “For anyone pursuing [the national team] in the next couple of years, we can work together on that, and it will be really useful for people with similar goals.”

Stone, who raced in the under-23 Men’s 8, the blue-ribbon event, performed similarly to Munro, finishing fifth in the race. Unfortunately, one of his teammates fell ill during their time in Poland and had to be replaced with a rower from the Men’s Quadruple Sculls.

“It wasn’t optimal, [but] he did a great job and we did a really good job overcoming [it] and working together,” Stone said.

All three Gaels competing at the event, while admitting they they didn’t race to the best of their abilities, felt honoured to attend the regatta, and hope to compete at the under-23 World Championships again in 2019. 

“Just the environment and to race the fastest people is exciting because that’s what you’re building towards, and you get to see it at the next level,” Stone said. “It’s really exciting, and fun. Like, really - best in the world fast.” 

After taking some well-deserved time off after their season at Queen’s, the rowers return to Kingston for training camp on Aug. 26. 

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