Queen’s Rowing finishes strong

Gaels women finish sixth, men fifth at Nationals

Head Coach Rami Maassarani fist bumps Queen’s rower Claire Ellison.
Michael Bryenton

In what was billed as a rebuilding season, the Gaels still managed to win multiple medals at the provincial and national championships over the past two weeks.

Following a great performance last year that saw Queen’s claim nine OUA gold medals—and featured graduating rowers who went on to row at the national level—the program faced the challenge of following a high-water mark, while largely reconstructing their team.

This season’s focus shifted slightly from medals and rankings to development and team building.

According to a previous interview with Head Coach Rami Maassarani, practices focused on this aspect by pairing seasoned team members with new recruits, and training teams together regardless of class or experience but rather based on speed.

Rookies were recruited based as much on character as on their considerable skill, and so this transition proved relatively seamless.

“Performance is not just the results but the way we approach training ... [and] that was more of a highlight than the results themselves,” Head Coach Rami Maassarani said.

However, the results were far from inconsequential.

Improving consistently from regatta to regatta in a very tight season with meets nearly every weekend is no small feat, but improve they did. The Gaels built on each race before ultimately peaking at the OUA Championships and Nationals.

The team exceeded expectations, winning two gold, five silver, and two bronze medals at the OUA Championships en route to bronze medal team finishes for both the men and the women. Then, Queen’s rowers came away four silver medals at Nationals this past weekend in Victoria, British Columbia.

The women’s team scored a total of 47 points at Nationals, beating out Trent and falling just behind the University of Toronto for a sixth place finish, having scored points in the lightweight double, pair, and both single events.

The men finished fifth, just above the University of Toronto, with 46 points overall, securing their finish with strong performances in the lightweight coxed four, single and lightweight single, and pair events.

Standout efforts were put in by men’s team captain Evan Notley who finished second in lightweight single, and Michael Bryenton who also finished second in open men’s single.

For the women’s team, captain Greta Chase and rookie Danica Vangsgaard won silver in lightweight women’s double, and rookie Claire Ellison and veteran Paige Adams brought home silver in the open women’s pair in a tight race.

While not reaching the podium, the men’s pair and lightweight men’s four, both with fully rookie crews, secured fourth-place finishes at nationals. This sets the stage for greater success next year and, as captain Chase said in an interview with The Journal, serves to “fuel the fire” for them.

While perhaps not as flashy as last year’s near-sweep at OUA Championships, the results bode well for the future of the team.

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