2018 Victoria City Rowing Club BC Championship Challenge West Regatta
Elk Lake,Victoria, BC (CA)
Friday, July 13, 2018
Event #16: Mens U19 2x, Heat 2/3
Seattle Rowing Center 7:10.47
Seattle Scullers 7:17.43
Nanaimo Rowing Club 7:20.12
Olympia Area Rowing Association 7:24.89
Victoria City Juniors 7:41.86
Fort Langley Youth Rowing 7:59.47
“Hey Matt, do you know what would be fun? BC Champs. We should go”
So we did. Racing at the premiere west coast summer regatta with little to no race prep, it was important to frame the experience correctly. All the crews we’d face over the course of three days—76 boats over only 3 events!—were well prepared and well trained. That being said, we set some pretty high goals:
Qualify the U19 2x for the Final
Medal in the U19 JV 1x
Win the U19 1x
Of all our goals for the weekend, qualifying the U19 2x Final might have been the toughest. Out of respect for the competition alone, we figured a really good performance could get us into the final, where it would take a great performance and probably require significant progress from the heat to work our way into the medals.
In the heat, the double had a really great row! The focus was on establishing a sustainable rhythm through the body of the piece. Nothing more complicated than that. After a nice clean start, they held clear on third through the whole race, sustaining a power based rhythm, a few beats lower than normal. The guys felt there was some more speed to be gained, but felt good after the row. We looked forward to the challenge of the A Final—all five of the other qualifying boats did so with faster times.
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Event #16: Mens U19 2x, Final
Brentwood College School 6:43.93
Gorge Narrows Rowing Club 6:45.84
Oregon Rowing Unlimited 6:55.39
Oregon Rowing Unlimited 7:04.26
Seattle Rowing Center 7:08.88
Seattle Scullers 7:11.27
Our one race Saturday, the Mens U19 2x A Final, was tough. The competitive narrowed to just the top 6 boats, and having a solid piece just wasn’t good enough. Pressure was there, at times the rhythm was too. The guys described the piece as 'foggy', and I'm used to seeing more speed from shore in the final 250. A couple things we identified after the race:
(a) The coach (a.k.a. me) should have made a rigging adjustment based on what the athletes relayed from the heat and the racing conditions.
(b) The guys weren't quite ready to bring their A Final mentality.
More than anything else, high level competition will keep you honest--even a slight hesitation, and they're out of reach. A lot of the athletes in the other boats had faced heavy competition just to earn their seats, honed well in advance of race day. It took us a couple hundred meters to find our edge. We made an adjustment to the launch prep routine to ensure we arrived at the line the next day with the requisite level of focus for our races in the singles.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Event G6: Mens Open 1x Time Trial
Max Heid (Seattle Scullers) 6:48.94 (7th/51 Overall, 1st/26 U19)
Event #28: Mens U19 JV 1x Final
B. Ravenscroft (Calgary Rowing Club) 7:37.35
M. Freybe (Thunder Rowing Crew) 7:53.84
M. Gamp (Calgary Rowing Club) 7:57.13
M. Ord (Vic City Juniors) 8:04.18
K. Cassidy (Vancouver Lake Rowing Club) 8:17.15
A. McCoy (Delta Deas Rowing Club) 8:24.64
G. Maggiore (Seattle Scullers) 8:25.40
Event G6: Mens Open 1x Semi Final
E. Hollands (UVic Rowing Club) 7:20.25
B. Larson (UVic Rowing Club) 7:21.29
B. van der Werf (Seattle Rowing Center) 7:24.06
M. Heid (Seattle Scullers) 7:30.38
P. Whitmore (Burnaby Lake Rowing Club) 7:31.69
J. Gangi (Seattle Rowing Center) 8:04.59
Event G6: Mens Open 1x B Final
M. Heid (Seattle Scullers) 7:20.37
J. Gangi (Seattle Rowing Center) 7:21.30
A. Hubbard (Calgary Rowing Club) 7:22.52
P. Whitmore (Burnaby Lake Rowing Club) 7:26.17
G. Blaskovich (Vic City Rowing Club) 7:30.13
S. McVeety (Seattle Rowing Center) 7:37.15
The early morning brought us a time trial, a final... and Max's boat! Transmission problems had forced us to trade our boats for a guaranteed arrival on Thursday--up until Sunday AM we had been competing thanks to Coach Katie and the Vic City Rowing Club (Thanks again!, Katie!). Bill came to the rescue, shepherding the single shell beginning at an Everett area Wendy's before a tow to a local auto shop, then, after following a flat bed with car/rack/boat all aboard, he drove that sucker up himself!
One of the great things about this regatta was the combined Open Men’s 1x event. While still competing for awards within individual categories (Open/Ltwt/U23/U19), a giant 52 boat time trial eventually sorted into nine different finals. This mean U23, Senior and U19 athletes competing side-by-side in Finals A-I, with exciting racing and close finishes! Max finished in the top 12, sending him off to the semis with spots up for grabs in the A/B Finals!
I have to admit, I do enjoy attending Canadian regattas--the purposeful approach to the Long Term Athlete Development competitive model is evident, nowhere more than the Open Men's 1x. Besides LTAD language in BOLD AND HIGHLIGHTED across the front page of the registration materials, there was a, very typically Canadian, polite aside during the coaches & coxswains meeting re: a couple athletes who had been entered in JV and Varsity events. No names named--just make sure your athletes are entered in the right category, eh?! Looking forward when age categories supplemented with skill designations are the norm across the United States.
Speaking of age/skill categories, it was great to see athletes racing up for the additional challenge. In addition to our Claremont Sports Institute friend/foe Jack, a particularly fast U19 athlete racing as a U23 for Vic City, Gabriel, one of our very own, stepped up to race in the Mens U19 JV 1x. Having spent in total one lonely morning training a single since NW Regionals in May, his goal was ambitious to say the least: to go top 3 and grab a medal. I thought it was a great goal; as a category, the speed of individual entries in a JV event is often hard to predict. Mass certainly plays a role in the U19 category, but Gabriel has reliably been one of our fiercest competitors.
Was it a reach goal for a U17 lightweight to be expecting a medal in a U19 event? Yup. But, reach goals are often more valuable than those that fall easily within our grasp. Scared to try for something that extends you, takes you out of your comfort zone? Not the best pathway to finding sustained personal growth, if you ask me.
Gabriel had a pretty great final--the race separated early, with a race for medals separating from the field. Gabriel found himself in the later, fighting for spots four through seven. With a great sprint, he gained significantly, closing to under one second of the boat ahead of him. With little preparation in advance of the regatta, he produced an excellent piece in a highly competitive environment. Pretty awesome!
In the U19 1x Semi Final, a rough start put Max 3-5 boat lengths down to the field off the start. His response to the challenge was exceptional: he was able to work his back though the bottom half of the field before falling just short of third place. It took a big effort, though, and the afternoon would see him lining up against some of the top U19, U23 and Open 1x's at the regatta.
After our super secret refueling protocol, Max hopped back in for the B Final. Finding his length and rhythm early, he was able to establish control of the field in the third 500, and held off a pretty great sprint from the SRC entry. By winning the B Final, and finishing ahead of the other U19 entry, Max earned Seattle Scullers its first gold medal ever.
Well rowed, boys!