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Canadian universities compete for rowing championship

Western University Mustangs preparing to begin the rowing competition.

In early November, Canadian universities met in St. Catharines for a rowing competition. Held at the Neil Campbell Rowing Centre on Henley Island, the event consisted of time trials, timing each team’s performance as they looped around the island.

The University of Guelph Gryphons were one of many who met harsh weather conditions and got soaked.

Taking first place was the home team, the Brock University Badgers. But Peter Somerwil, the Badgers’ head coach, was unsure if the competition would even take place.

“Today was a very challenging day,” Somerwil said. “We had to reschedule the whole regatta an hour earlier, counting on volunteers to contact [competitors] in a hurry to get them all here on time. The athletes had to change all their schedules and that made it a little challenging.”

Weather conditions were harsh, as it was one of the windiest days of the season. This made rowing downstream much easier but rowing back upstream was incredibly challenging and a lot of the athletes got soaked. Guelph Gryphon Lars Dutfield-Hughes did not expect it to be so difficult.

“Paddling upstream turned out to be a huge difficulty,” Dutfield-Hughes said. “At one point by the end of the race, we would get splashed by water. Of course, me being at the back of the boat had me taking the brunt of it all.”

Many Canadian universities took part in the competition located on Henley Island.

Also doing well during the competition was the University of British Columbia, which excels at the sport due to consistently better weather conditions that allow the team to practice year-round.

Guelph, McMaster, Dalhousie, McGill, Concordia, Alberta, Montreal, Queens, Western, and Waterloo also competed.

For more information and a full list of competing universities and their final times at the regatta, visit https://www.henleyregatta.ca/.