This past weekend, rowing clubs from across the Maritimes got together at Lake Banook in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to compete in the 45th annual Nova Scotia Sprints Regatta. The Sprints are a unique event allowing crews to maximize their efforts over a 1000m racing course instead of the traditional 2000m distances, giving way for some exciting sprinting and a new flavour of competition for certain teams. Among those teams were rowers from local Nova Scotia clubs, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick: Kennebecasis RC and our local Fredericton Rowing Club. With the Canada Summer Games nearly two weeks away, set crews also had the chance to battle it out in advance and let their hard work show.
Over the course of this year’s regatta, Team NB (majorly consisting of Fredericton Rowing Club) definitely made themselves known across the categories. Kicking off the weekend, New Brunswick’s Ian Morrison fought for the podium in the Junior Men’s Single Sculls, winning by a close margin and claiming the gold for the second year in a row. In the Open Women’s Single Sculls, Fredericton’s Jessica Chouinard breezed through the competition, winning both in the Heats and in the Final with 10 seconds to boot. In the Lightweight division, FRC athlete and coach Cathleen Trafton also claimed 1st in her category. When merged together in the Open Double Sculls, Jess and Cat claimed the Final once again over Row Nova Scotia.
In the Women’s pairs, Fredericton saw considerable success through Stephanie Pegler and Kendra Schmidt, a newly formed and powerful duo who took 1st in both the Junior Women and Open Women’s pair races. The two joined with fellow athletes and FRC coaches Julia Hill and Caroline Grant to form an Open Women’s four, a crew that later won their division as well. Triumphant, the four transitioned into the FRC Women’s 8, coxed by Pascal Morrimanno, 14, which subsequently won the Final through a heated and exciting contest with Halifax Rowing Club. Among the seasoned athletes in the boat, bow seat Mackenzie Vandertoorn, 14, made her competitive debut and crushed the competition.
On the men’s side, the highly regarded Team NB Men’s Lightweight Quad: Ian Morrison, Keagan Rankin, Tim Lawrence, and Noah Hartery, made a statement on the 1000m course. In the Final, they were challenged by some of the regatta’s strongest heavyweight scullers and won the Final despite being lightweights, edging out Halifax’s veteran crew with a time of 3:11. In the Final for the Open Men’s four: the second-last race of the weekend, a rematch was made between the two crews. The NB men pulled ahead and were destined for 1st by the 500m mark, but Halifax ultimately won the bout in the last 300m stretch.
Many junior FRC athletes made massive improvements over the two days of racing. Remi Walhain, a sculler in his rookie year, demonstrated an exceptional bowing performance in the Men’s Junior Quad. Coxie Pascal Morrimanno, having only recently started his sculling career, made it through to the B Final in the Men’s Single Sculls.
Finally the weekend concluded with a Mixed Singles 200m Relay. Putting some of their strongest male and female scullers forward, Fredericton once again was challenged by Halifax Rowing Club in the final stretch. The fourth and final racer for FRC: Jessica Chouinard, managed to successfully hold off HRC’s Chris Zulinov on the last lap, winning the relay. All the while, Fredericton’s strong network of coaching staff, equipment managers, parents and athletes maintained a fun and functional atmosphere for all crews over the long hours of competition.
Fredericton Rowing Club would like to thank Row Nova Scotia for the opportunity and the many volunteers that made the entire regatta an immense success and an experience to propel athletes forward in their athletic careers.