By Douglas Vandor – Rowing Canada
June 23, 2015, varese, Italy – Team Canada received their first glimpse of international competition this weekend at World Rowing Cup 2 in northern Italy, and they liked what they saw.
The women’s 8 led the charge with a silver medal performance in their event. While staying in contact with their southern neighbours throughout most of the contest, the mighty American crew bested the Canadians at the line. The Canadians finished second to USA at last year’s World Championships and are trying to unseat their North American rivals at the top of the podium this year.
“I think we are pleased to be on the podium in this year’s first international race, but not satisfied,” explained Cristy Nurse, bow seat of the women’s eight, following their performance.
“We won’t be content until we have that top spot,” continued Nurse, “but the women’s 8 field continues to deepen and I’m proud of my teammates for demonstrating that we remain a force in this event.”
Both the men’s four and the men’s quadruple sculls captured bronze medals in Varese in very competitive fields. The Americans won the four event while Great Britain won the quadruple sculls event.
Both Canadian crews proved they have done their homework over the winter and by exhibiting solid performances this weekend, they have a great foundation to build upon as the summer progresses.
“The racing was great,” said Conlin McCabe, London Olympian and stroke of the men’s four. “But we still have lots of work to do and we will be looking to pick up speed and learn from the races that we had this weekend.”
The men’s squad is a mixture of veterans and newcomers. Tim Schrijver, 2 seat in the men’s four, won a gold medal at the World Rowing U23 Championships last year. The young powerhouse has made a seamless transition to the senior ranks, winning a medal in his first-ever world cup appearance this past weekend in Varese.
Racing the women’s single, Carling Zeeman, finished a strong fourth while Australia, USA and Austria rounded out the top three. Zeeman came from behind after a slow start to challenge the lead pack but was unable to crack the top 3. She will be looking to gain more racing experience in the single in her next big competition, the Pan American Games regatta which is taking place in St.Catharines, Ontario in mid July.
The lightweight men’s four and the women’s double finished 10th and 12th in their respective events.
Pascal Lussier, racing the men’s single, finished 26th.
The lightweight women’s double of Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee had to withdraw following the preliminary round.
“I woke up with aches, a bad cough, and a sinus congestion,” explained a disappointed Jennerich, who is accustomed to stepping onto the podium. “I thought I could race through the sickness but that was a mistake, the field is too competitive to not be at 100%.”
The 2014 world silver medalist was advised to pull out of the regatta to recuperate in order to be able to get back to training as soon as possible. It is expected that Jennerich will recover quickly.
The women’s eight will remain in Europe for training and will return to the racecourse July 10-12 in Lucerne, Switzerland for World Rowing Cup 3. The lightweight women’s double is the only other crew that will join the women’s eight in the Swiss Alps.
World Rowing Cup 2 was a good first gauge of the 2015 competition for the Canadian team. The coaches and crews will build upon what they learned this weekend to make improvements as they progress through the summer. The ultimate test will be the World Rowing Championships at the end of the season. It will serve as the Olympic qualifying regatta for the Rio Games in 2016.
Click here for a complete list of the crews and athletes who competed this weekend in Italy.
Douglas Vandor – Rowing Canada Aviron – 250.686.2282