Sunday, July 21, 2013

Roadie: 2013 St. Catharines Regatta

The RJRC U23 8+ Mens team launches for the final race of the day. (7/20/13)
Yesterday was Day 1 of the St. Catharines Invitational on Henley Island in Canada at which the   Rochester Junior Rowing Club (RJRC) had a number of boats entered to compete. For my stepson, Greg, this was his last official "scholastic" row before leaving for Columbia University in a month, though he was not competing in a scholastic category. Because he and most of his boat mates recently graduated from high school, and are over 18 years old, they have been competing in the U23 (under 23) category this summer with a few 16 and 17 year olds on the team. Given their relative youth, and physical maturity, the competition this summer has been challenging, but goals and personal expectations have been reasonable enough not to feel as though it has been a waste of time.

Henley Island is a popular regatta site. (7/20/13)
As both a scholastic rower at McQuaid high school, and during previous summer row seasons, Greg has competed a number of times in St. Catharines. His mother, father and I have made the two hour trip west to Canada quiet a few times in the past five years, and this particular venue is always enjoyable despite the occasional hot and/or rainy weather conditions. Today was no different, though mercifully, there were a number of shaded areas from which one could find reprieve from the strong sun and heat.

Pushing off. (7/20/13)
The U23 Men 8+ race was the final of the afternoon and only two boats were entered. As was the case last week, the RJRC boat, which included Greg, a high school teammate of his as well as some member of the Pittsford Rowing Club (which runs RJRC), was a considerable underdog. The other boat, Row Ontario, consists of members of the Canadian National Rowing Team. As a wrote earlier, VERY talented competition has been on the schedule this summer.

Despite tough competition, the boys row on... (7/20/13)
... through the finish. (7/20/13)
While one doesn't go into any race with the intention to be bested, sometimes it is just a matter of acknowledging the difficulty of a race and putting forth best effort to demonstrate your own development. The RJRC U23 8+ did not win (in truth, it wasn't really close), but given the clear disadvantages (experience, size, maturity) the boys did row well. Much of this summer has been about focusing on improvement and looking for opportunities to garner some individual and team success from racing against clearly superior team talent.

The race winner, the boat from Row Ontario, exits the "playing field". (7/20/13)
Another beautiful Saturday, another solid workout/race. (7/20/13)
Though RJRC will be competing back at this site in two weeks as part of the Canadian Henley Royal Regatta, today was Greg's final row. With college on the horizon and a lengthy work schedule, he will be stepping aside from the team. This was the third summer season that Greg rowed (including two for RJRC) and each season has been beneficial for a number of different reasons, beyond the chance to compete against top talent. Most importantly this year, it gave him greater sense of what sort of training is necessary in addition to team practices to be a successful rower at the next level.
Carrying the boat to be derigged. (7/20/13)
Derigging and preparing for transport of the shells back to Rochester. (7/20/13)
Greg and I prior to his race. (7/20/13)
Au revoir! (7/20/13)

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