Ridley rowers show well at Nationals
Four Ridley College students accorded themselves well recently at the National Rowing Championship Regatta in Duncan, B.C.
Autumn Crowe, Charlotte Langlois, Jade Postma and Talia Nixon all competed at the small-boat regatta (single or pair) which is used as a ranking event by Rowing Canada.
“It’s great to be back to some regular racing. It was really a showcase for them to demonstrate their small-boat skills and to race against some of the top athletes in Canada was amazing,” Ridley senior girls rowing coach Siobhan McLaughlin said.
“Our athletes did very well. They did exactly what they set out to do which was stick to the race plan and get better every race. They showed a lot of maturity that way.”
The athletes were ranked by time, rather than racing against each other based on age.
“Rowing Canada wants to get a ranking overall everybody’s speed,” McLaughlin said.
“It’s kind of a cool event that way.
“It’s a little bit more difficult technically because you have to have the small-boat skills to race in a single or a pair.”
Crowe, a 17-year-old Grade 12 student from St. Catharines, placed second in the U19 Women’s 1x and was in the B final which ranks her in the top 12 in Canada.
“I didn’t really go to many other races this season, NRC was the main goal and the main focus,” Crowe said. “I wasn’t trying to put too much pressure and focus on it but I knew in order to join the junior national team squad you had to come in the top two so my goal was top two.”
Crowe said she did her best focus on her performance rather than worry about others.
“I kind of knew my competition going in there and I was also trying to stay a little more internal,” she said. “Just trust in the training and what I know and that it would all work out good.”
Crowe was satisfied with her result but admitted the competition was top notch.
“I accomplished what I did want but it was tougher than I thought it would be,” she said. “You forget how fast people are — there are some really, really fast girls out there. You forget the field of competition.”
Crowe also recently committed to row at the University of Michigan for the fall of 2023.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s such a big relief. The whole recruiting process was very stressful.”
Crowe said one look was all it took to convince her the school was the proper choice.
“As soon as I visited Michigan I knew I wanted to go there,” she said. “It was a weight lifted off my chest not having to stress about that. I see other Grade 12s stressing about that now and I know I went through that. It’s so nice to have that aspect looked after.”
Postma and Nixon teamed up to place third in the U19 Women’s pair.
Nixon, a 17-year-old native of Fredericton, N.B., loved the experience.
“We went out a few days early. It was really great to get into our groove and get used to the racing and new environment,” she said. “We had two days of races which was really good and being in B.C. was super amazing. Overall it was a great regatta.
“It was cool to be racing alongside Olympians and older women in the sport. It was really inspirational.”
Nixon said the experience was as important as the final outcome.
“I’m super proud of how we finished,” she said. “Placing isn’t everything. If you come out first or come out last, it’s all about what you’ve learned and what you’ve done and I think it was the experience that will really stand out and the memories you will have forever.”
Nixon will be attending the University of New Brunswick on a volleyball scholarship next year.
“Rowing isn’t my main sport. I’m kind of new to it still so I was interested in getting out there, seeing what it’s like and competing at that high level,” she said.
Nixon feels rowing has helped her game on the court.
“I loved the challenge and the ability to cross-train rowing with volleyball has made me stronger. I feel they play into each other very well.”
Postma is an Orillia native who moved to St. Catharines six years ago to attend Ridley.
“It was a great experience,” Postma said of the regatta. “I’m a lot younger than all of the competitors but getting that competitive feel and competing with people who are older than me and have a higher level of experience in the sport, it was more about experience for me.
“Obviously, this outcome was a great shock and a great surprise and rewarding. It was really enjoyable.”
Postma admitted it was intimidating at times.
“It’s a little bit overwhelming because they are all older and competing on provincial teams or in their universities,” she said. “A little bit of nerves but that gives me the drive to go and do as best as I can just to see what I’m up against.”
Postma is considering rowing at the university level when she graduates from Ridley.
Langlois, a 16-year-old Toronto native, placed 32nd in the U19 Women’s single.
“She had her best racing and did amazing considering she trains half the time as a coxie and half the time as a rower,” McLaughlin said. “She did very well and is one of our top athletes.”
Langlois said she became more comfortable at the regatta as she went on.
“It was a little bit intimidating at the beginning because during the time trials I was with some super experienced athletes, even Olympians,” she said. “I was a little bit nervous but I just went out there to do my thing and I got less intimidated.”
Langlois was thrilled just to be chosen to compete.
“I went out there mainly to gain experience,” she said. “I was just so thankful for the opportunity I was even picked to go. I really just went out there to do my best and see what it was like at that level of competition because you really don’t know what’s out there until you do it.”
Langlois also doubles as a coxie for Ridley’s senior women’s quad.
“I definitely would say they help each other out a lot because when I’m rowing I’m able to map out my races nicely and able to take super tight turns because I’m a coxie and I know how to make those navigational choices,” she said. “In terms of motivation because I’m an athlete as well, it’s a lot easier to know what kind of calls to make and knowing how to motivate them and knowing what needs to be said and when.”
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