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On February 27th, 2016 the McMaster University Rowing Team hosted the 14th annual McMaster 2×4 Challenge, an 8000m 4-person erg relay. This year, we had 300 participants, a 50% increase from last year. With the extra competitors, the McMaster Student Centre Atrium was abuzz all day long.

The morning started at 8am with the high school Jr women, where Ancaster won in a time of 28:44.9. At the same time, St Mary’s took the high school lightweight women’s race in 28:34.1. Next was the high school Jr men, where St Mary’s finished in 25:24.2, followed quickly by the Jr lightweight St Mary’s team at 25:29.1. The high school Sr women’s category had 6 entries, and was won by St Michael’s in 27:15.7. Meanwhile, St Mary’s won the Sr lightweight women’s event in 28:32.7. Finally, the high school Sr men and Sr lightweight men raced together with Ridley and St Mary’s winning in 23:09.2 and 24:44.7 respectively.

At the break for high school awards, Leander and Westdale were extraordinarily happy to christen the fleet’s newest boat, the Isabel Miller, in a ceremony in front of the large crowd including Isabel herself.

When racing reconvened with the University novice women, the McMaster team was quick to put the Marauders on the board with win in 27:18.4 while Western took the JV Women’s race in 25:35.1. The McMaster novice men followed suit with their female counterparts, holding off Guelph for a win in 24:12.2. In the closest race of the day, the university lightweight women’s race saw Western inching out Toronto by less than three seconds to take it in 26:13.5. The lightweight and JV men’s races also finished with Western winning in 22:32.2 and 22:11.7. Getting towards the end of racing, the Marauders varsity women came second in a field of five when Western won in 25:16.7. Similarly for the Marauders men, Western clinched the top spot in 21:39.2 and the Marauders men had to settle for second.

There were many other club events throughout the day, with Leander Masters Men having a very strong performance, as well as from the Trent Club Sr crew who raced with the varsity men. Alchemy Crossfit won the Crossfit Challenges, while Mac Kin and Mac Strength and Conditioning teams took the Marauders Challenges. In a competitive club rec race, the LBC crew beat out “The Willetts” and two UofT dragonboat crews. In the morning, Don’s and LBC junior crews won their club events.

The Mac Rowing team is thrilled at the level of interest in the event, and we hope to continue to grow next year. The atmosphere in the McMaster Student Centre Atrium was an excited buzz all day, and there were many great (and painful!) memories from the event. Thanks for everyone for coming out, and we hope to see you again next year!