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Men can’t race at AUS rowing championships

By Ian Froese, Staff Contributor

 

A three-peat was not in the cards for Dalhousie at the Atlantic University Rowing Championships and, in fact, it was never feasible.

St. FX cleaned house at the fourth annual regatta last Saturday at Lake Banook in Dartmouth claiming 28 points, far above their closest competitor, Memorial, with six points. Dal finished third, earning five points.

The event was stacked in favour of St. FX. Although there were morning time trials involving at minimum one university squad in the numerous divisions, only three categories were capable of holding a final with at least two post-secondary teams. St. FX had four boats in the medal contests in comparison to Dal’s two contenders.

The 12 men rowing for Dal, for instance, were incapable of competing in any medal races as point-based races were only available for women. This is partially because other Atlantic universities are more established in their women’s programs than their male ones.

“I’m definitely disappointed they didn’t get the opportunity,” said co-head coach Dan Murray. “We only got to compete in two regattas this year and the other one wasn’t a scholastic regatta. We didn’t have anyone to compete against all season.”

The sentiment is shared by Niko MacLellan. He was in a number of exhibition races but none of them contributed to the final point total.

“Yes, it is disappointing. We have the opportunity to go to a couple races in Ontario or British Columbia this season,” he said, “but it’s much more expensive for us that we don’t have the ability to go there.” The Canadian University Rowing Championships are this weekend in Victoria.

The women did compete in meaningful races toward the AURC standings. In the senior women’s coxed 4, Dal’s squad finished their time trial of the 4.3 km course in 21:16 for first. St. FX was 15 seconds off the pace as the second university finisher. In the medal round, St. FX turned the tables, winning the 1000 metre sprint with a time of 5:26:58, whereas Dal were 13 seconds behind. Corresponding to their final rankings, the teams earned 10 and five points, respectively.

In the senior women’s single, Dal’s representative did not have the chance to better her second place showing in the time trial as she failed to cross the finish line. Greer Gallant became a victim of the windy conditions that helped this fall’s incarnation of the Really Chilly Rowing Regatta earn its title.

“My oar caught the water awkwardly,” said Gallant. “I was leaning to the right, the wind was coming to the right and it just caught the boat like a sail and it flipped right over. I couldn’t stop it.”

Her disqualification gave Memorial’s Kierstein Van Gulick an uncontested six points. She was the only Memorial athlete to participate in a medal event.

“These were not ideal rowing conditions,” Gallant said after the day’s competition. “If it was this windy on an average practice day then we wouldn’t be going out on the water, we would stay in and do dry land training. But it’s regatta and you’ve got to deal with what you have been given.”

St. FX boosted their commanding lead in the final medal race, the novice women’s coxed four, with their two boats the sole competitors in the sprint. Cox Nicole Sancuriter steered her side to first with a time of 6:15:48, 61 seconds faster than the other St. FX boats. The Antigonish school was awarded 15 points for their showings.

“I think our crews did well,” said St. FX co-head coach Erica Underwood. “A lot of our crews are novices, too, so I’m happy with what they showed today.”

Though Dal only had five points to show after the regatta, Murray celebrated the women’s results.

“I’m definitely pleased with their performance. From the start of the season we’ve had two girls that have only done the learn-to-row program, and one of them wasn’t even going to race this weekend, but because another was sick we had to throw her in a boat,” he said. “Just based on factors like that it’s impressive that they did as well as they did.”

Considering the time trials and medal races, Dal unofficially concluded the day and their season with four first place showings, five second place results, one third place and two disqualifications against post-secondary and non-university crews.

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