U of O rowing team competes on Canal
PEDESTRIANS WALKING ALONG the Rideau Canal the weekends of Sept. 15 and 25 received a nice surprise as they passed blocks of cheering students running after boats rowing up and down the waterway. The U of O competitive rowing team first participated in the annual P.D. Ross Regatta against Carleton University and the Ottawa Rowing Club, and then the following weekend in the Head of the Rideau Regatta against Ontario universities and clubs.
The competitive club began their season with some friendly opposition against the Ravens. The regatta consisted of one alumni race, a junior varsity race against the Ottawa Rowing Club, and a varsity competition against the Ravens.
While the Gees lost the alumni chase, it was the experience of being back on the water that was most important to the former athletes.
“I’ve been a part of the regatta, either rowing it or organizing it, for the past five years,” said Emma Lehmberg, vp alumni of the rowing team. “Every year [the alumni] come back and they are just happy to see everyone and happy to race again. Rowing is a lifestyle and when you leave it, it’s hard. It’s nice for people to come back and … get back on the water.”
The teams each rowed a two-kilometre course down the Rideau Canal to Pretoria Bridge. The varsity crew managed to steal the P.D. Ross trophy from Carleton after a two-year winning streak.
The regatta gave everyone an opportunity to test the waters before the Sept. 25 races began and to gain local support from U of O students.
“We were really happy with the turnout. When we came around the bend, I was really happy with all the cheering,” said Brittany Feor, secretary for the U of O rowing executive.
The first official regatta took place on Sept. 25 against Trent University, McGill University, and Carleton University, as well as local rowing clubs. The U of O fared extremely well in the Head of the Rideau competition, with U of O sixth-year student Jenna Pelghen taking home the lightweight win, and Lehmberg and fourth-year Marika Yvonne winning the heavyweight doubles.
“[The Head of the Rideau Regatta] went great,” said Lehmberg.
“Usually it rains during the Rideau Regatta, so it was nice that it was super sunny. As far as how the teams did, the women’s side definitely did very well. Obviously we had multiple medals in some categories. I think everyone had a lot of fun.”
Among the U of O athletes was Kate Goodfellow, a fourth-year psychology student who won gold at last year’s Canadian University Rowing Championships in Victoria, B.C. She is also a world champion in the women’s under 23 category, winning the single event and setting a world record.
The crew’s next regatta takes place at Trent University next weekend and they will compete at the Brock Invitational after Thanksgiving. The Ontario University Athletics competition will be held in St. Catharine’s Oct. 28–29. The team hopes to be able to place top four this year, breaking their fifth-place record.