Two Henley golds Thursday for SCRC
St. Catharines Rowing Club members Ethan McAlpine and Alex Jastremski row to Henley gold Thursday in the men’s under-23 double.
Ethan McAlpine and Alex Jastremski were the perfect partnership to win Henley gold in the men’s under-23 double Thursday.
“We are both gritty and we both dig deep, especially for each other,” said McAlpine, a scholarship rower for Princeton.
Jastremski, a scholarship rower at Boston University, has always wanted to team up with McAlpine.
‘When I was younger, Ethan was older and I always heard a lot about him,” the 19-year-old Beamsville resident said. “It was really nice to row with him, be in the same boat and have the same goal.”
The 19-year-old E.L Crossley grad said it took a while before the St. Catharines Rowing Club double hit its stride.
“It definitely took a bit of an adjustment with both of us going to American schools and the only boat we row and race there is the eight,” Jastremski said. “It’s sweeping and getting back into sculling took a little bit of time. Getting into the double also took a bit of time to jell.
“Then last week, it really started to click.”
McAlpine, a 21-year Grimsby native who represented Canada at the 2016 World Junior Championships, recorded his second career Henley gold. His first came last year in a composite boat in the championship eight.
“This is my first real Henley gold and it feels good,” he said.
That being said, his first Henley gold was also big.
“That was a fun grip and rip but it was important for the experience,” the Grimsby and District Secondary School alumnus said.
It was also Jastremski’s second career Henley triumph. His last medal came in the under-17 quad three years ago.
“This is very special,” he said. “This is home and I only live 10 minutes from here. All summer, I have driven down to practice and train here and now I have won here.”
Jastremski feels his U.S. scholarship rowing experience has been crucial to his development.
“The biggest thing is being around all the guys who are very motivated and they are all very high calibre,” he said. “There’s always competition and even if you are the best guy on the team, there is always a guy right below you.”
McAlpine and Jastremski will also be competing in the quad.
A season of hard work paid off in a Henley gold medal Thursday for St. Catharines Rowing Club’s men’s senior lightweight four.
“Ever since Day 1, we connected as a crew,” Brad Iafrate said. “We had a lot of confidence, a ton of experience and we left it all out there.”
Like every boat competing this week, the four had to deal with numerous weather delays.
“The delays set us back, they changed practice times, they changed race times twice today so it was a bit of a hectic schedule,” Iafrate said. “Other than that, it was pretty clear sailing.”
There’s no secret to dealing with delays.
“It’s experience, confidence in your crew and confidence in our coaches because they are our backbone,” he said. “They kept us level-headed and we made it through.”
It was Iafrate’s second career Henley gold. Crewmate Ryan Walter claimed his first, Eric Buchanan won his fifth and Jacob Giesbrecht ran his total to 3.25.
“I only count the dash (gold) as 0.25,” he explained.
Vesper Boat Club from Philadelphia was the top winner Thursday with three Henley golds. The St. Catharines Rowing Club, the University of British Columbia and the Don Rowing Club from Mississauga each won two races.
Racing continues Friday at 7:30 a.m. with finals scheduled to start at 3:36 pm.
The only local crew to finish second Thursday was Ridley Grad’s men’s senior lightweight double (Samuel Court and Ethan Enns).
St. Catharines Rowing Club’s men’s under-23 lightweight single (Johan May) was the only local crew to place third.
Following are results from all the other Niagara boats who made Henley finals Thursday:
Women’s under-17 double: 6. St. Catharines (Meredith Hilmayer and Grace Weaver).
Women’s senior lightweight double: 4. St. Catharines (Jennifer Beaudette and Carly Zanatta).
Women’s senior eight: 4. St. Catharines (Anna Maloney, Keira Allen, Shannon Van Baalen, Christina Gravelle, Kalle MacLennan, Isabella Mazzarolo, Cayley Firth, Sydney Boyes and Mary Rao).
Men’s under-17 quad: 5. Notre Dame (Michael Lilley, Trevor Lachnit, William Capes and Ethan Engel.)