Mustang Jane Rumball rows to world championship gold

Courtesy: Jackie Skender, Rowing Canada
Release: 08/27/2006
Courtesy: Rowing Canada

Canada won gold in the women’s pair and picked up bronze medals in the men’s pair and coxed pair events today at the World Rowing Championships in Eton, England.

Western’s Jane Rumball of Fredericton, N.B. and Darcy Marquardt of Richmond, B.C. won the women’s pair in 6:54.68, with New Zealand getting silver in 6:56.72 and Germany in third in 6:57.11.

The pair had a strong start and controlled the final despite some rough water on the course.

“We tried to stay relaxed in these conditions,” said Marquardt, who was fourth in the women’s pair at the 2004 Olympics. “It was rough so we just had to focus on our catches and finishes – the in and out of the blade in the water and stay together. I just stayed in time with Jane and we came through. It feels amazing.”

Marquardt and Rumball also won the women’s pair event earlier this year at the Munich World Cup, but now have proven themselves in a tougher field. It was also a boost for the Canadian heavyweight women’s program, which didn’t send any boats to the Worlds last year.

Said Rumball: “It is really an incredible feeling and it’s just starting to sink in. I just said ‘we did it’ at the finish line. It’s the culmination of a perfect season for us. We’ve worked together as training partners and we were committed to this from day one (of training).”

Rumball began her rowing career in the pairs event, winning the national school championships 10 years ago for Fredericton High School, and she also rowed at the University of Western Ontario. “So this is a dream come true,” she said today.

Right after the women’s win, the men’s pair rowed a gutsy race to finish in bronze-medal position. Australia won in 6:18.0, followed by New Zealand in 6:19.13 and Canada in 6:21.83.

Malcolm Howard of Victoria, B.C. and Kevin Light of Sidney, B.C. were silver medalists in Munich, and Light has won two World Championships in the men’s eight.

“We didn’t win, so it’s not the exact same feeling as winning the Worlds (in the eight),” said Light. “But now it’s obvious what we need to improve in our race and being fourth in the world would have felt pretty bad. Technically, it was not a good race, but we never gave up. There was a lot of grit and determination.”

Howard rowed the pair last year, finishing fourth overall at the 2005 Worlds in Gifu, Japan, with Chris Jarvis. “We learned a lot this week about rowing in rough water. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a step in the right direction,” he said just before stepping onto the podium today.

Liam Parsons, another Western alumnus, finished 4th at the World Championships.

An up-and-coming pair, rowing in the coxed event, also took bronze today for Canada. Derek O’Farrell of Unionville, Ont., and James Andrew Byrnes of Toronto, Ont., who also serve as the spares for the men’s eight and four events for Canada, were third (6:55.41) behind Serbia (6:51.27) and Italy (6:54.39).

“The guys rowed exactly the way they had planned. They showed a lot of maturity in rowing their own race and not being distracted by the other crews pushing forward,” said their coach Howie Campbell.

“We had a strong start and managed to hold on but other crews rowed through us,” said Andrew Byrnes, “but the middle of the race is what we’ve been working on so we managed to stay right in there with the Italians.”

The Canadian four of Scott Frandsen of Kelowna, B.C., Kyle Hamilton of Richmond, B.C., Ben Rutledge of Cranbrook, B.C. and Barney Williams of Salt Spring Island, B.C. was second in its B final to finish eighth overall. The four’s time was 5:54.39.

As expected, Great Britain won gold in this event (5:43.75) in front of a roaring crowed at this future Olympic rowing site. Germany was second and the Netherlands third.

Canada’s lightweight men’s single, Jeff Bujas, was tied for fourth with the Guatemalan sculler in 7:01.01 in his B final this morning.

In adaptive rowing events, all of Canada’s crews now advance to the finals. The women’s single was first in the rep today; the men’s single was also first to advance; the mixed double was first, and the mixed four was second in the rep and also move to the medal rounds. Canada has the potential of winning medals in all the events open to adaptive rowers.

“The start was a bit hairy,” said Shira Golden, after her adaptive women’s single event today. Rowing 1000 metres, the adaptive crews do not have start gates. “I got out quick and I felt Poland closing in.” Golden, who was a member of Canada’s 2004 Paralympic bronze medal wheelchair basketball team, managed to hold on to win in 6:34.59, with Poland just behind in 6:35.37.

It was a day of exciting close races – see full results and reports at www.worldrowing.com

Racing continues tomorrow, the final day of the championships, with the lightweight women’s quad, lightweight men’s four, men’s coxed four and women’s eight medal races for Canada.