Weekend Wrap: Long Weekend Racing at the SNI; Canada Competes in Lucerne
Competition/ May 22

Weekend Wrap: Long Weekend Racing at the SNI; Canada Competes in Lucerne

The Victoria Day weekend saw action on the homefront and overseas as the South Niagara Invitational was hosted in Welland and the World Rowing Last Chance Olympic and Paralympic Qualifier took place in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Hosted by the South Niagara Rowing Club on the South Course of the Welland International Flatwater Centre, the SNI featured a total of 463 entries from 50 clubs across Ontario and the US. Those numbers mark a significant increase from 2023, when the race had 406 entries from 39 clubs. The participants competed over two full days and were representing either their home clubs or high school programs, and they raced in everything from singles to eights in novice, junior, and senior open and lightweight divisions.

The event featured 45 different race categories with some having heats and others straight finals depending on the number of competitors in each category. EL Crossley S.S. had the most entries in the regatta with 48 and brought home the most gold medals with 20. Next on the gold medal tally was Branksome Hall (Toronto) as the all-girls school took home five golds. Rowers representing the Orillia Rowing Club earned four first place finishes, while The Don Rowing Club and Niagara Falls Rowing Club each earned two golds.

The high school rowing season in Ontario continues this weekend (May 25) with the London Western High School Invitational. The following weekend high school rowers from across the country will descend on St. Catharines for the CSSRA Championships (May 31 – June 2).

Meanwhile in Lucerne, the Canadian rowing team battled for the final Olympic and Paralympic spots for the 2024 Paris Games and despite their best efforts came up just short.

Canada sent three boats to compete in the regatta (M8+, W4x, PR1 W1x) which took place on the Rotsee from May 19-21. All three boats qualified for the final after strong showings in the preliminary heats. The first to compete in the finals on Tuesday was Christa Akins (PR1 W1x) who placed second in her preliminary heat on Sunday, and third in her repechage heat on Monday to qualify for the final. She would go on to place fifth (11:52.13) in the final, which was won by Mukhayyo Abdusattorova of Uzbekistan in a time of 10:59.96.

The Women’s Quad put up a strong fight in their preliminary race on Sunday, finishing third in a close race against the USA and Ukraine. Only 0.98 seconds separated first and third place, setting an intense stage for the final on Tuesday. In a fiercely contested final, the W4x finished in third place with a time of 6:29.25, behind the USA (6:28.04) and Ukraine (6:28.27), narrowly missing out on an Olympic berth.

The Men’s Eight delivered a commendable performance in their final race, leaving it all out on the water and came agonizingly close to securing a spot in the Olympics. In a nail-biting showdown, the Canadian team finished third with a time of 5:39.53, just 0.01 seconds behind Italy (5:39.52) and behind the race winner USA (5:35.97).

For full results from the South Niagara Invitational, visit RegattaCentral.
For full results from the Last Chance Qualifier, visit World Rowing.

For the full regatta schedule in Ontario, visit the Row Ontario website.

Picture is property of South Niagara Rowing Club.