Two more Henley golds for St. Catharines
The St. Catharines men’s under-23 lightweight four reacts after finishing second in their Henley final Friday.
Rebecca Dockray and Madison Thomas had their first taste of rowing together in a quad last fall at the Head of the Charles Regatta.
Several months later, they celebrated their friendship and partnership by winning Henley gold Friday in the women’s under-19 double.
“We rowed together in the fall last year and we rowed a little bit in the double together, but we never thought it would turn into anything or that we would race competitively by ourselves,” said Dockray, a Grade 12 student at Grimsby and District Secondary School. “It was a lot of fun.”
Fun was the operative word for the pair of first-time Henley champions.
“It has just been so much fun,” said Thomas, a Wetland Centennial graduate, who will be a scholarship rower this fall at the University of Rhode Island. “We have a lot of fun together when we row the double and that is super important with all the long, hard workouts and time trialing.”
Before races, the two will joke around to relax themselves.
“If you are not having fun, it’s why am I here?” Thomas said. “The fun part makes it so worth it.”
That fun approach led to Henley gold.
“It’s so special for me to have this moment together, especially because it was with Rebecca,” Thomas said.
But it wasn’t easy. The St. Catharines crew needed a late push at the finish to record a come-from-behind victory over a crew from the Don Rowing Club.
“I thought we were moving a little bit but I keep my head down and kept rowing,” Dockray said.
There was joy and relief when the race was over.
“It feels so good, but it was the hardest race that I had ever done,” Dockray said. “We’ve been training for it and we pushed so hard.
“It was awesome to see that we did so well.”
BATTLE OF ST. CATHARINES
Friday’s men’s senior 64-kilogram coxed four final at the Henley regatta was a battle of St. Catharines.
In the end, the St. Catharines crew in Lane 2, made up of Dylan Vanderloos, Owen Powell, Joe Coughler, Owen Hughes and cox Kennedy Keith, edged out a St. Catharines crew in Lane 8.
“It wasn’t easy because those guys are pretty tough too, but we were tougher, I guess,” Vanderloos said.
The other St. Catharines crew was on the winning crew’s mind during the final.
“You try not to look over, but you know they are coming,” Vanderloos said. “You peek a little bit but it’s hard to tell where they are.”
Both crews pushed each other during the summer.
‘It was lot of practice, working hard and training with the other St. Catharines four,” Vanderloos said. “It was good to train with them.”
The first time the winning crew rowed together was about a month and a half ago and Friday was its first actual race.
“We have a lot of St. Catharines Rowing Club time trials in the morning,” Vanderloos said. “It’s kind of like racing, but they are not fours all the time. That helps us with the race experience.”
It was the second career Henley gold for Vanderloos, Coughler and Keith and the first for Powell and Hughes.
Local crews that placed second in Henley finals Friday were: St. Catharines men’s senior 64-kilogram cox four (Tyler Vanderloos, Donald Bagozzi, Michael Adamczyk Jr., Justin Felker and Brooke Kew); and, St. Catharines men’s under-23 lightweight four (Noah Van Helvert, Owen Voelkner, Jacob Martens and Johan May).
Niagara boats that ended up third in Henley finals Friday were: St. Catharines Rowing Club’s men’s under-19 double (Evan MacRae and David Picard); and, St. Catharines men’s under-17 eight (Richard Hamm, Evan Smith, Austin White, Joseph Hunt, Jacob Lofaro, George Martinson, Giancarlo Dipompeo, Liam Benner and Emma Bagozzi).
St. Catharines Rowing Club’s two victories pushed its total to four for the regatta and it is tied with the University of British Columbia for the most. Vesper and the University of Victoria each have three victories.
Racing continues Saturday at 8 a..m. with the finals scheduled to commence at 2:31 p.m.
Below are the results of all the other Niagara crews in Henley finals Friday:
Men’s under-23 single: 4. St. Catharines (Ethan McAlpine); 5. South Niagara (Neil Kennedy).
Men’s under-19 double: 5, St. Catharines (Kai Bartel and David Law).
Women’s under-19 double: 4. Ridley Grad (Erin Broski and Gabrielle Cook).