Jackie Skender

Rowers faced the wind and cold today to race for spots in tomorrow’s finals of the RBC National Rowing Championships (Nov. 11 to 13, 2011). Athletes in the senior, under-23 and junior categories have all gathered at the Welland International Flatwater Centre in Welland, Ontario, to race each other in small boats and determine national champions.

“I’m really encouraged by the quality of rowers coming up through all levels,” said Rowing Canada Aviron High Performance Director Peter Cookson. “It shows a lot of depth and commitment from the clubs, schools and universities, as well as our development program.”

There were approximately 64 races completed today, and among the highlights were the semi A/Bs, that featured many Olympic and national team veterans as well as up and comers and 2012 Olympic hopefuls.

In the women’s pair, Olympians Darcy Marquardt of Richmond, B.C. and Andreanne Morin of Montreal, Que. won their semi in 7:32.30. The other women’s pair semi winners were Janine Hanson of Winnipeg, Man., and Lauren Wilkinson of North Vancouver, B.C. in 7:29.34.

“We had a good race,” said Wilkinson, a gold medalist in Canada’s Under 23 women’s eight crew this year. “Conditions were windy, but they were windy for everyone, so we just handled it and rowed our own race. There’s a lot of good competition out there, so tomorrow is going to be a lot of fun.”

In the men’s pair, 2008 Olympic silver medalists Scott Frandsen of Kelowna, B.C. and David Calder of Victoria were first in their semi in 6:47.32.

“There were some challenging conditions out there, but I think it was pretty fair for all the lanes – just some rough-water rowing,” said Frandsen. “We had a decent start and set a good pace in the middle, and that set us up for a good race tomorrow.”

Olympic gold medalist (men’s eight) Andrew Byrnes of Toronto, Ont. and 2011 men’s eight member Jerry Brown of Cobourg, ON, won the other men’s pair semi A/B race in 6:43.94.

In the women’s lightweight single, the first semi-final saw Lindsay Jennerich of Victoria win in 8:22.66, followed by her 2011 lightweight doubles partner Patricia Obee, also of Victoria, in 8:23.21. Olympic bronze medalist Tracy Cameron of Shubenacadie, NS, won the other semi in 8:15.14.

In the first semi-final of the the women’s single – Isolda Penney of Kingston, Ontario won in 7:55.41, followed by Welland native Kerry Shaffer, and the Lindsay Sferrazza of St. Catharines, Ont.

Carling Zeeman of Cambridge, Ont. won the other women’s single semi in 7:59.90, followed by Audra Vair of Creemore, Ont. and Rosie DeBoef of Victoria, B.C.

Mike Wilkinson of North Vancouver won the first semi of the men’s single in 7:14.17, followed by local favourite Fraser Berkhout of St. Catharines, and 2011 Under-23 National Team member Adam Rabalski, who also qualified for the final.

2011 Pan Am Team member Mike Braithwaite of Duncan, B.C. (7:18.79) won the other men’s single semi, followed by Josh Morris of Victoria and Jamie Abbass of New Brunswick.

In the lightweight men’s single, Cam Sylvester of Caledon, Ont., qualified first in his semi in 7:17.28. In the second semi of this event, Morgan Jarvis (Winnipeg, Man.) was first in 7:21.15.

In the lightweight men’s pair, yesterday’s top qualifiers were pairs Eric Woelfl and Derek Vinge; and Ben and Jacob Cushnie.

Race times for tomorrow’s finals are revised, and are as follows:

A finals

W1x 8:00am

W2- 8:07

LW1x 8:14

M1x 8:21

M2- 8:28

LM1x 8:35

LM2- 8:42

B finals

W1x 8:49

W2- 8:56

LW1x 9:03

M1x 9:10

M2- 9:17

LM1x 9:24

LM2- 9:31

Full results and draw can be found at the following link: