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The ROWONTARIO Championships took place on Saturday July 25, and Sunday July 26. Hosted at the Welland International Flatwater Center, 30 clubs arrived ready to race in the largest regatta that leads up to the Royal Canadian Henley. With 764 entries over two days, this year’s ROWONTARIO Championships was one of the largest in the history of the event. With competitors ranging from Under 17 to above 23 years of age, the regatta saw great skill and tight racing from all.

Over the two days, temperatures were high and the wind was up and down. Walking through the regatta site, it was not uncommon to see athletes and coaches wearing wide brimmed hats and staying cool under tents and under trailers. Sunscreen was a must for these two days as athletes were on the water an hour before their race, and many athletes raced multiple times each day.

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With finals scheduled for each afternoon, both Saturday and Sunday morning heats were filled with great racing. The winner of each heat automatically advanced to the final, so it was important to go for the win. Depending on the amount of entries in each event, the finals were filled with a certain number of the next fastest times from all the heats. This means that even coming in second in the heat did not guarantee a spot in the afternoon final.

Once the finals were set, the fans that crowded the banks were in for a treat. Close racing over the 2000m course resulted in crews making small moves over the entire distance, trying to either take the lead or close in on the leading crews. When it came down to the last 500m, the racers put everything into their sprint; some crews sprinted early, some sprinted later, all fueled by their fans who were roaring out encouragement. When the horn sounded at the finish, the victors’ hands went up in celebration, while others were left gasping for air. Everyone congratulated each other at the end of the race, and showed true sportsmanship throughout the two days of racing.

The Rowing Canada Junior National Team took part in some races as an exhibition entry as a tune up for their World Junior Championships in Rio de Janeiro on August 5-9. It was great to see Rowing Canada’s crews race along with other athletes who are all the next generation of Canada’s terrific rowing tradition. We wish the Junior National Team success in Rio, and you can check out the JW2-, JW4x, JM4- and JM4x here.

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We would like to thank all you athletes for a fantastic two days of racing. We watched incredible races throughout the days. We would also like to thank all the volunteers and umpires who made this regatta happen and are ran a fantastic regatta. We hope that you all had a great time at the 2015 ROWONTARIO Championships and we wish all crews competing at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta the best of luck. See you all next year!

For results, please check out our regatta page.

For more pictures, please go to our Facebook page.