Tillsonburg Rowing Club’s high school rowers have been on the water about three weeks, so far, preparing for their first regatta.
“We’re as ready as we can be,” said Carley Corbeil, looking forward to their season-opening Mother’s Day Regatta in St. Catharines. “We’ve been training the whole winter for this. It’s exciting.”
“The weather was against us in the first part of the season,” said Kayd Brown, glad to be off the ergs and back on the water. “Now we’ve got better weather. Every day it doesn’t rain, it’s a good day to be on the water.”
“We’ve got three singles and a double, all junior rowers,” said TRC coach Lacie Tunks. “All first-year in high school competition, except for Carley, it’s her second year.”
Rowing singles are Corbeil, Brown and Samantha Joyce. Megan Moore and Mikaela Lessif are in the double.
“The first five days the ice was off the water it was still too windy and cold to have them out there to risk any flips,” said Tunks. “We’ve been out a good solid three weeks. We’ve got the Mother’s Day Regatta, then Welland the next weekend, London the week after. Then back to St. Catharines for the Canadian championships, maybe. Only the most competitive crews will get to row there.
“It’s (Canadians) good experience for them, so I hope they all grind down, bear down, and row hard so that we can take them.”
Junior rowers race in age-group divisions, not divided by weight (light and heavyweight).
“The heavyweights should be pulling harder, but they have more weight to pull down the lake.”
What they lack in high school experience, they make up for in ‘junior program’ experience. Each of them has been on the water for 2-3 years.
“Carley’s got experience, so she knows what she’s getting into,” said Tunks. “The other boats just might need the first competition to find out what they need to do the next time. They’re going to be the youngest in their age category.
“Frank (Tamasi) has helped a lot starting the junior program, which we lacked. Now they can graduate from Frank’s junior program and they’re ‘ready-made’ and I can just work on conditioning and fine-tuning rather than technique and teaching them how to row. Even my first-year Grade 9s, they’ve been rowing three years now.”
Brown got a taste of competitive rowing last summer in Welland at a long-distance timed event. His game plan will be adjusted for a shorter distance Mother’s Day race.
“Basically just do what the coaches ask me, put in my best effort,” he smiled. “I need to come out strong, get a good start. Get a good start, get some good strokes in there, and finish the race pretty steady – not dying halfway through.
“We’ll see what happens, see how well I do in the race. We’ll see what I need to do to improve, and the coaches can tell me what I need to fix… my hand levels, or if I need to reach out more, or something like that.”
The Tillsonburg Rowing Club is having a car wash, barbecue and plant sale on Sunday, May 19 in the RE/MAX parking lot at 565 Broadway.