C/O McMaster Rowing
The first major rowing competition after a year and a half was welcomed by many
On Nov. 6, the Canadian University Rowing Championships took place at Brock University. After over a year of the COVID-19 led recess, the best rowers from universities across Canada gathered to take part in the competition. There were a total of 21 schools competing in both mens and womens entries that had a chance to prove themselves over the two days of competition.
McMaster participated as one of the 21 teams in the rowing competition. They entered the tournament with a total of seven entries, which were: Mens Open 1x, Womens Lightweight 2x, Mens Lightweight 1x, Womens Open 1x, Mens lightweight 2x, Womens lightweight 1x and Mens lightweight 4+.
Overall, the major Canadian rowing competition did not conclude well award-wise for the Marauders, who were unable to achieve podium status in any of their entries. The first race of the day was the Mens Open 1x, which was scheduled at 9:00 a.m. The 2,000 metre rowing distance had McMaster finish in 13th place with a time of 7:57.717.
The next two races didn’t show much more success than the first, unfortunately. In the second race — Women's Lightweight 2x — the Marauders placed 11th while achieving a time of 8:18.096 for 2,000 metres. The third event for McMaster was the Mens Lightweight 1x, which resulted in a 9th place finish for the school, with a time of 7:56.410.
Arguably the biggest success that the Marauders have achieved throughout the rowing championship was the Men's Lightweight 4+ race. The team managed to qualify for the finals, where they unfortunately fell to sixth place, with a total time of 7:00.070 over 2,000 metres. The participants for McMaster’s most successful and final race were Liam McDonald, Alex Barnes, Alex Cowman and Jack Thorpe.
Although McMaster did not do very well in this competition, University of British Columbia student Niko Schramm managed to make the podium in both of his races throughout the weekend. Speaking to him, he expressed his excitement to be back to the sport that he loves after such a long time.
“I was so excited to be a part of this competition. This COVID break seemed to last forever to me and I couldn't wait to get back to rowing. As a student athlete, breaks like these in the past period affected [me] a lot and a return was much needed,” explained Schramm.
Schramm also added how the COVID break started for him and his peers.
“In 2020 there were meant to be many races for my peers and I to participate in. However, there was so much uncertainty as to what would happen, [and] eventually everything had to be cancelled until further notice. I was gutted,” said Schramm
When asked about the competition opportunities for his university compared to McMaster and other Ontario schools, Schramm said that his school did not get as many opportunities to prove themselves on the big stage leading up to the big competition last weekend.
“This was [UBC’s] first major meet in a very long time. It’s a different scenario for Ontario universities as they have had Ontario University Athletics championships beforehand so they have gained some competitive experience leading up to this major meet,” explained Schramm.
Schramm also spoke about the success he achieved during this rowing meet, coming in second and third place in his heats.
“Personally, we were a bit disappointed with what we achieved. We didn’t really expect anything other than a win in our heats, as we have worked hard to prepare in the best possible way for these races. The expectations were really high as UBC has done exceptionally well at rowing competitions in previous years. On a personal level though, I am somewhat satisfied with the way that I have done. I am just glad to be back to rowing,” said Schramm.
Although the Canadian University Rowing Championship is over and won't be played again until next season, the competition couldn't come at a better time for many of the student athletes who have been hungry for competition after a year and a half of inactivity. While the Marauders season comes to an end, there is plenty of room for optimism and improvement when looking ahead to the next season.