Henley 2014- Day 1

A team of 28 ERC athletes has arrived at St Catherines for the 132nd Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. We are one of the clubs with the most athletes and entries at the regatta (although far from the top of the table – Community Rowing from the US brought 100 athletes to the regatta, while the local club St Catherines RC entered 160 athletes). Our athletes are racing across all events that the regatta has to offer, Men and Women from Junior via U23 to Senior in lightweight and open weight categories.

Racing in the preliminary heats and semifinal rounds started today. Many of our crews progressed to the semifinals and finals in what was deemed by the coaching staff to be a great start to the regatta. Some of the highlights of todays included:

The Senior Lightweight Mens 2x of Quinn Brandly and Ole Tietz qualified for the final by coming second in their heat. Stroke seat Quinn Brandly commented: “We had a great start and lead the field after 20 strokes and maintained an aggressive pace throughout the first 1000 meters. After assessing the situation at half way, we decided to save some energy for the long week of racing ahead and held on to our qualifying spot comfortably.” The crew will compete for the medals on Thursday afternoon, where they will be facing strong competition from the US and Canada.

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Ole Tietz and Quinn Brandly came second in their heat to qualify for the semifinal in the LM2x 

The ERC had 4 single scullers entered in the Junior Mens 1x competition (Cody AndersonMichael HohnsteinTill Tietz and Aaron Harrower), of which two (Cody and Michael) progressed to the semifinals. Michael sculled a steady race and qualified for the semi without much drama. He later expressed his thanks to the Hudson mechanic who tuned his boat the day before the race. Cody attacked the race with the goal of keeping his mid-race rate as close to 40 as possible. The strategy payed off when Cody secured a second place to qualify for the semi. Till Tietz raced in a extremely challenging heat where the top 5 scullers came through the 1000m mark level. Till put in a big push for the line, but missed out on the qualifying spot by 0.5 sec. Aaron put in a great race against very strong competition.

The lightweight / heavyweight combo of John Carr and Colin Findlay raced extremely well to come third in their heat of the U23 Mens 2x and qualify for the semifinal. Neither athlete had been to Henley before and this is their first race at this regatta. Unfazed by the quality of the competition the pair rowed well to make the next round. Colin indicated that the strongest part of the race was the start at which point the ERC crew was in control of the field and held on t their qualifying spot.

Quinn Brandly had a good start in the U23 Lightweight Mens 1x. He lead the field to the 750m mark, at which point he experienced a temporary laps of boat speed. Quinn said that he struggled to find his rhythm but managed to force the boat back into gear in the later stages of the race to qualify for the semi-final coming in second place.

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Michael Hohenstein coasted to an easy second place in his heat of the Junior Men’s 1x

The ERC Womens 8+ had draw three American crews in their heat of the Senior Womens 8+. The crew of Roland Dennett, Andrea Labrecque, Amanda Cinnamon, Leanne Leder, Jess Phillips, Mallory Turner, Kendra Hartley, Aline Belzil and Isabelle Belzil were not intimidated by the competition from our southern neighbours. The crew came out of the blocks strong, racing level with the crew from Craftsbury and three quarters of a length up on Penn AC. During the middle 1000 m the Craftsbury boat pulled ahead slightly, but the ERC crew was able to put further distance into their rivals from Penn AC and West Side Development. The eight finished strong and closed the gap on Craftsbury, coming second by only 3 seconds. Craftsbury is a US training centre for scull and sweep rowing and boasts an impressive record of both big and small boat performances. Aline Belzil (two seat of the ERC 8 at the young age of 15) was overheard saying: “It was fabulous. This was the best race we have ever had.” Both coaches and athletes hope that the crew can do even better when they compete in the final on Thursday afternoon.

Hot seating from the 8 into the 1x, Isabelle Belzil competed in the Junior Womens 1x and qualified for the semi-finals tomorrow. Isabelle took a relaxed approach to racing (and recovery from the 8) by sitting in fourth place to the 1000m mark. Isabelle later confided that she felt it was time “to turn it on” around the 750m to go. She calmly sculled through the field to claim first place in her heat.

Further competing today were Leanne Leder in Senior W1x, Steve Payne and Aaron Hartley in the Senior M1x,Mallory Turner and Jess Phillips in the U23 W2-, Theora Gray in the U23 LW1x. The competition was tough and these crews did not progress, however, all athletes raced well and represented the club at this very competitive regatta.

We wish everybody the best of luck for the semi-finals tomorrow.