The 2010 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Brest, Belarus, finished up today - with Canada bringing home two medals.
The men's pair race was Canada's first podium performance. The Canadians (Conlin McCabe of Brockville, Ont. and Anthony Jacob of Vancouver, B.C.) had a good start, but at the 1000-metre mark South Africa had a lead on the field by a touch of open water. The other five boats were very close through the middle. Canada kept attacking pushing the rest of the field back, and they moved just short of even with South Africa, but it wasn't quite enough to take the lead.
South Africa won gold in 6:45.46, Canada was a close second in 6:46.96 and Romania held bronze position in 6:49.22 - followed by Germany (6:51.63), France (6:52.89) and Serbia (6:55.99). All times over 2000 metres.
"The goal was gold, but we had our best race on the day and we're both happy with that. Moving forward it will only add to the motivation to improve, and put more fuel on the fire," said McCabe, a University of Washington student.
McCabe and Jacob are no strangers to the podium - they brought home a silver from the Junior Worlds in Beijing in 2007 and both were in the Under 23 eight that was second in the World in 2008. This year, they joined the senior team for a World Cup in Lucerne just before the trip to Belarus.
Canada's second medal today was in the women's eight. The Canadian eight had a solid start in its final race, but the U.S. took over by the middle and stayed up front. Canada and New Zealand kept pushing each other, and although the Canadians put on a great last effort, they didn't catch New Zealand, who took silver.
The Americans' winning time was 6:31.97, next was New Zealand in 6:36.48; with Canada getting the bronze in 6:38.16. Germany (6:41.83), France (6:57.66) and Belarus (7:01.42) rounded out the final field.
The Canadian eight overcame a challenging week to pick up this medal - one of the crew members, Rosie DeBoef, was too ill to row, so lightweight Patricia Obee stepped in today - rowing in both her event, the lightweight double, and filling in for DeBoef, who is now on the road to recovery, in the eight.
"There was no question that we were going to give it all that we had today," said member of the bronze-medal crew, Lauren Wilkinson. "We weren't just rowing for ourselves, we were rowing for Rosie and for Patricia, and for the rest of the Canadian team - including all the coaches and support staff who have helped us through the week."
The eight for this race was (coxswain) Kristen Kit of St. Catharines, ON, Laura Cowal of Thorold, ON, Natalie Mastracci of Thorold, ON, Lauren Wilkinson of North Vancouver, BC, Christine Roper of Reading, Jamaica, Catherine Hart of Westmount, QC, Sarah Black of Ottawa, ON, Patricia Obee of Victoria, BC, and Ashton Brown of Calgary, AB.
"We are all proud of the way the women handled the changes in the lineup this week and of they way they performed today," said Peter Cookson, High Performance Director for Rowing Canada Aviron. "Overall, the Under 23 program is an important stage in our athlete development strategy and we will continue to use and expand on this program to help prepare athletes for the senior team."
In other Canadian racing, the lightweight women's single finished fourth in 8:22.29. Catherine Bouchard-Pilote of Boucherville, QC stayed in third position for half of the race, but couldn't hold off a strong charge by the Japanese sculler who ended up in second. Belarus, Japan and South Africa won medals in this event today.
"The women all had exciting races today," said women's development coach Michelle Darvill. "We are proud of their performances and extremely grateful for the support we've received."
The lightweight women's double (Elizabeth Fenje and Patricia Obee, both of Victoria, B.C.) was fifth overall in a time of 7:43.23. Greece took gold in this event in 7:28.71.
The lightweight men's quad was third in its B final in 6:32.60 - ninth overall. Members of this crew are Kevin Mitchell of Victoria, Renaud Garon-Gendron of Boucherville, QC, Thomas Watson of Victoria, B.C., and Kristjan Joubert of St-Lambert, QC,
The lightweight men's pair (Eric Woelfl of St. Catharines, ON, and Stuart Taylor of Brockville ON) was sixth in the B final in 7:36.04, or 12th overall.
Yesterday, the Canadian men's coxed four was fifth overall.
On this second day of finals at the U23 Worlds, 15 events raced with gold medals being spread over 12 different nations.
In addition to the athletes, coaches, staff, Canada's Brian Fiori (Regina, SK) was part of the officiating team in Belarus at this year's U23 regatta.
Full results: www.worldrowing.com
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Jackie Skender - Rowing Canada Aviron
Race watchers at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships were treated to some face-paced action today in Brest, Belarus, with the U.S. breaking a World Best time in the women's pair.
Canada also had a decent day - with three crews showing they belong in tomorrow's A final after today's semis.
Although still new to international racing, Catherine Bouchard-Pilote of Boucherville, QC, pulled off a strong race today using the middle 1000 metres to push even with the top two boats. In the last 500, Bouchard-Pilote made another push, took the lead and finished first in 7:52.81, with South Africa's Kirsten McCann in second (7:54.93) and Atsumi Fukomoto of Japan with the third qualifying spot (7:55.30) from this semi.
"This was another step completed, and now I'm ready for tomorrow," said Bouchard-Pilote.
Bouchard-Pilote, McCann and Fukomoto will also face scullers from Belarus, Austria and New Zealand in the race for medals tomorrow.
The men's pair - Conlin McCabe of Brockville, Ont. and Anthony Jacob of Vancouver, B.C. - placed second in the semi and move to the A final. They had a solid race moving from fourth, overtaking Hungary and Serbia, to qualify. The top four boats where very tight through most of the race, but crossing the line South Africa took first in 6:35.61, Canada's time was 6:36.10 and the Serbians hung on for the final qualifying spot in 6:40.54.
"We are expecting a six-boat race down the entire course tomorrow; we felt the semi-final was a lot better than the heat and we think we are going to improve again moving into the final. The good thing is we are in striking distance of gold ..... It's not everyday you get the chance to be a world champion, so I'm hoping that we rise to the occasion," said McCabe.
The lightweight women's double - Victoria's Elizabeth Fenje and Patricia Obee - also placed second in their semi in 7:14.44 and advance to the A Final. They had a great start getting to the 250-metre mark first, but Germany moved through the Canadians in the second 250 and ended up in first over 2000m (finishing in 7:13.50). Canada held in second place for the rest of the race - holding back third-place Sweden with a tough final charge.
"We learned a lot about race strategy in our semi today, and we are very excited to take that knowledge and apply it in tomorrow's final," said Obee.
The other semi of the lightweight women's double sculls nearly broke the World Best time when Greece (7:05.68) and New Zealand (7:05.69) raced to a photo finish. Germany, Canada, Sweden, Greece, New Zealand and Great Britain will line up for the final tomorrow.
In the only final of the day for Canada, the men's coxed four was fifth overall in 6:26.63. Italy won gold in 6:14.26, Germany got the silver in 6:15.17 and Great Britain took bronze in 6:16.19.
Canada's U23 coxed four is Ronan Sabo-Walsh (cox) of Vancouver, B.C., Josh Morris of Victoria, B.C., James Clinton of Vancouver, BC, Blake Parsons of Toronto, ON, and Michael Lewis of Dorchester, ON.
Canada's lightweight men's quad just missed out on advancing to the final today after coming fourth in a semi that saw the top five boats all very close at the line (but only the top three advance to the A final). Canada made a big push in the last 250 metres but just fell short and will row in the B final tomorrow. This crew is Kevin Mitchell of Victoria, Renaud Garon-Gendron of Boucherville, QC, Thomas Watson of Victoria, B.C., Kristjan Joubert of St-Lambert, QC,
Germany won this semi in 6:01.52; Greece was second in 6:03.76 and Italy also qualified for the final (6:04.00) - then came Canada in 6:05.01, Denmark in 6:06.19, and off the pace, the U.S. with a time of 6:14.10
Canada's lightweight men's pair (Stuart Taylor and Eric Woelfl) was sixth in today's semi, and will race in a B final (for places seven to 12) tomorrow. Canada's time was 7:04.54, well off the pace of the winner of this semi (France) in 6:45.08.
"We had some excellent races today," said Chuck McDiarmid, Rowing Canada Aviron, High Performance Development Coordinator. "The venue in Belarus is exceptional with great conditions, and we're expecting to see some fast races tomorrow. If the Canadian boats can continue to build on their performances, we feel we can be in the hunt for some medals."
Canada's women's eight will also row in the final tomorrow.
Full results and details at:
July 23, 2010, click here for July 22
Racing continued today in Brest, Belarus, with a couple of Canadian lightweight crews earning spots in tomorrow's semi-finals.
The lightweight men's pair of Eric Woelfl of St. Catharines, ON, and Stuart Taylor of Brockville ON, was first in its rep in 6:52.50.
"We had a much better race today in the rep than in yesterday's heat," said Taylor. "We were feeling more confident coming out of the starting gate and attacking the middle 1000 metres of the race. We're looking forward to tomorrow's semis and improving on today's performance."
Russia was edged out by Canada in the last part of the 2000-metre race, and finished second in 6:54.31 - top two from this rep moved to the semis.
Lightweight single sculler Catherine Bouchard-Pilote of Boucherville, QC, was second in her rep in 8:01.08. Austria won in 7:58.12, and an American sculler was the third qualifier from this rep in 8:05.67.
"Today's race was way better than yesterday - I was able to execute what I wanted to do and I am looking forward to my semi tomorrow," said Bouchard-Pilote.
In an exhibition "race for lanes" the Canadian women's eight was sixth today.
Yesterday, the Canadian men's pair, men's coxed four, men's lightweight quad, and lightweight women's double advanced after solid performances in the heats.
A thunderstorm yesterday afternoon caused racing to be suspended and the heats in four boat classes to be re-scheduled for this morning (which did not affect any Canadian crews). Organizers were expecting more storms this afternoon so the schedule was condensed. Racing continues through to Sunday.
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Racing kicked off today for Canada's Under 23 Team. The Canadian crews are among the more than 880 athletes participating in World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Brest, Belarus, (July 22 to 25, 2010).
The men's pair of Conlin McCabe of Brockville, Ont. and Anthony Jacob of Vancouver, B.C. won their heat today in 6:46.21, followed by Romania (6:50.71) and the Ukrainians (6:53.43), who also qualify for the semi from this heat.
Though still in the Under-23 age category, McCabe and Jacob were recently part of the senior men's eight that competed at the Lucerne World Cup.
"The exciting thing about racing at the U23 level is that our competition is for the most part unknown," McCabe, 19, said today. "We wanted to have a solid start to the regatta, but we kept in mind that we have two more races (semi and final) and the last one is the only one that really matters! Anthony and I are going to analyze the splits closely and compare them to the calls made, and look to pick up speed through our next two races. If we build speed through the regatta, and keep learning about ourselves and our competition, I think we will get a great result in the end."
The lightweight women's double of Elizabeth Fenje and Patricia Obee, both of Victoria, B.C. also won today's heat. Their time was 7:23.54 and they move nicely to the semi-final.
The men's coxed four had a solid race this morning, placing second in today's heat and advancing directly to the A final. Germany won the heat in 6:15.88, and Canada crossed the line in 6:18.64 (top two to A final).
"We had a solid race today," said coxswain Ronan Sabo-Walsh. "We committed together, executed our plan well, and we're excited for the final on Saturday! We still have a lot more speed, and we can't wait to step up and challenge the other five crews in the final."
This crew is Sabo-Walsh of Vancouver, B.C., Josh Morris of Victoria, B.C., James Clinton of Vancouver, BC, Blake Parsons of Toronto, ON, and Michael Lewis of Dorchester, ON.
The lightweight men's quad of Kevin Mitchell of Victoria, Renaud Garon-Gendron of Boucherville, QC, Thomas Watson of Victoria, B.C., Kristjan Joubert of St-Lambert, QC, also advanced.
Great Britain won the heat in 6:04.75, Canada's time was 6:07.54 and the Netherlands was in third in 6:09.76 - top three move to the semi-finals.
Catherine Bouchard-Pilote of Boucherville, QC, was fifth in her lightweight women's single heat in 8:09.43 and will race in the repechage on Friday.
The lightweight men's pair of Eric Woelfl of St. Catharines, ON, and Stuart Taylor of Brockville ON, were fourth in their heat (in 7:11.65) and will also race in a rep Friday morning.
"It was a good first day for the Under 23 team. The athletes were excited to test their speed," said Chuck McDiarmid, Rowing Canada Aviron, High Performance Development Coordinator. "For many, this was their first international competition, and getting the heats out of the way will help them relax and prepare for their next rounds. Our coaches are confident in what they have seen so far and believe there is more speed to gain from the crews over the next few days."
Coaches were reporting good conditions, with a medium cross-tail wind, for most of the races, however, this afternoon saw a suspension of racing due to storms. All Canadian crews scheduled for today were able to finish before the weather issues arose.
Full results and reports:
Jackie Skender - Rowing Canada Aviron
519.452.7213 (indoor training centre)