Rowers collect seven medals at national regatta

Gaels earn four golds, one silver, two bronze at national championships

Gavin Stone won the men’s heavyweight single at the CURC.
Credit: 
Supplied by Michael Bryenton

This season, Queen’s rowing’s harbored an unwavering confidence—their results at the Canadian University Rowing Championships (CURC) last weekend were proof. 

The Gaels capped their impressive 2018-19 campaign with seven medals at the championships, held in St. Catherine’s. Four of their medals were gold. 

Fourth-year Nick Grubic said the Gaels’ season was one of the best in program history. “It might be the most medals Queen’s has ever gotten,” he told The Journal in an interview. “Over the last decade, it’s been the best nationals we’ve had.”

The championship regatta began on Saturday, where athletes raced timed trials to qualify for finals on Sunday. 

“I think everyone went in confident,” Grubic said in reference to the Gaels’ showing at the OUA Championships the weekend prior, where they landed 11 total medals.

Each timed trial race was 1,900 metres, as opposed to the full two-kilometre course because time trials are done without any competition. Grubic claimed this was a disadvantage for Queen’s. 

“If you go into a race knowing you’re going to come first, and you’re in the heats, you don’t have to go [as] hard,” Grubic said. “In a timed trial, you don’t know, because there’s nobody beside you.”

Putting in extra effort to ensure their place in the finals, Saturday’s strong qualifying times previewed Sunday’s banner day for the Gaels. When the finals came around, Grubic said each team member hopped into their boat confident.

“Everyone went in assuming they were going to have a spot on the podium,” Grubic said. “If their goal wasn’t first, it was coming second and third.”

Their assumptions proved to be true.

Fourth-year Gavin Stone, the OUA Male Athlete of the Year, won the men’s heavyweight single, earning a gold medal. Meanwhile, fellow fourth-years Grubic and Alex Bernst came first in the men’s lightweight double. Bernst won silver in his individual competition in the lightweight single. Additionally, the men’s lightweight coxed four won gold, comprised of Grubic, Bernst, Evan Notley, Dan Stret, and Michael Wightman. 

“We [knew] we were probably going to be near the top,” Grubic said.

The men’s heavyweight pair, comprised of Michael Bryenton and Tyler Gay, finished sixth overall. 

Rowers from the women’s team earned three medals in their four races.

In the heavyweight single, Louise Munro won gold, while Katherine Walker came third in the women’s lightweight single for a bronze medal. The women’s pair, raced by Paige Adams and Cassidy Deane, earned a bronze medal. 

Meanwhile, the lightweight double, raced by Jane Carlton and Greta Chase, narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish. 

With the CURC finished, six Gaels flew to Burnaby, B.C. earlier this week to race in the National Rowing Championships Nov. 8 to 11.

While the season reaches its end, the rest of the Gaels will settle into some well-deserved time off before their training picks up again next semester. Many senior rowers intend to return for a fifth season with the program.

Notably, Stone will be taking the winter semester off to return to B.C. to train with the hopes of earning a spot on the senior national team. 

After such a successful season, Queen’s rowing continues to prove themselves as a force in the OUA.

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