Thursday, August 06, 2009


I still keep a toe in the rowing world, mostly through friends, although at this point it's probably just my pinky toe. Whenever I go out to lunch with some of my post-collegiate rowing buddies, inevitably the conversation comes back to the current goings-on at our old club, what other old rowing friends are up to (very few of whom are still in the sport), or, most often, reflecting back on how awesome we were, or how awesome we almost were.

This week is the Canadian Henley, without a doubt the best annual rowing race in North America, and a tie with the Head of the Charles for best rowing "event" on the continent. It's also the most competitive club race. The elites are super fast too, but since the best elites are preparing for Worlds/Olympics, are in the middle of their trials or have just finished their trials, there's not much depth in the fastest events.

That doesn't really matter, as Canadian Henley is primarily a junior, under-23 and not-ready-for-primetime/past-your-prime event. There is a competitive field across the board in those categories (technically called Junior, Under-23, Senior), with almost every event requiring heats. The best, most meritocratic, most cut-throat aspect of the race is awards are only given to event winners -- there is no silver or bronze. So, you either win or you don't.

Anyway, I periodically check out a rowing news site and I saw that Canadian Henley is this week. So, I clicked through to the regatta page and looked at the results page. The picture on the page is a winning crew from my old club. I don't know any of these girls (I think they were in elementary school when I last raced), but seeing the picture gave me a little wave of nostalgia.

From there, I was pleased to see the Canadians really have it together. I don't know of any North American rowing event that archives their results as well as Canadian Henley. Certainly not US Nationals. So, since I was feeling nostalgic and all, I looked at my own results from the years I raced there. I was shocked to see the results haven't changed since I raced -- first in the 145lb 8+ and 3rd in the 145lb 4+ in '02 and 3rd again in the 145lb 4+ in '03. I would have thought that, by now, our years of talking about how the events unfolded would have at least moved us into 2nd in one of those two other races. Damn the Canadians and their effective record-keeping.

In a bit of irony, our coxswain in those two years of races ended up rowing in the 145lb 4+ in 2004. And they won. So maybe we should have had him rowing instead of steering and yelling.

Of course, I can take solace in the fact that I'm still part of the reigning champion crew in the 145lb 8+. It's not at all important that they retired the event after 2002.
I'm sure I have a non-watermarked copy of this somewhere, but this is what's still available online (7 years later!). For those that can't tell, I'm the shortest guy there (aside from the coxswain) -- second from the right.

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