Fall racing kicked off for the Edmonton Rowing Club and the University of Alberta Rowing Team on Saturday September 27, 2013 in Vermillion, Alberta. The Head of the Vermillion held promise for both ERC and the UART crews as they raced their prairie neighbors.

Most of our athletes had an early start to their day in order to make the 3-hour drive to Vermillion to get there, unload the trailer and be on the water in time for the first launch. The University of Alberta Team was driving away from Lister by 6am. For roughly 40 of the athletes that took part in the University Learn to Row program, this would be their first regatta and the excitement and nerves were buzzing.

By 8am boats were being unloaded and rigged at the course. Crews were getting themselves organized, having a pre-race chat with coaches Ali Williams and Sheila Findlay, eating a few last minute carbs, and by 10:30am the first launch was off. For Edmonton and the University, athletes raced in the following boat classes for the first launch: Novice Women’s 8+, Junior Men’s 4x, Open Women’s 4x and 8+, Open Men’s 1x, 2x, and 2-, and the Master Men’s 1x, and 2x All crews paddled up the 3.6km course and once everyone was behind the start line the Open Women’s 8+ was the first to go. Athletes quickly realized that the Vermillion course would prove to be a challenge with weeds and multiple obstacles to stay clear of.  Nonetheless they all finished strong! Once the last boat crossed the finish line and the timer was stopped teams had about an hour to regroup and rest before the second 1:30pm launch.

Boat classes racing in the second launch for Edmonton and the U of A consisted of the: Novice Men’s 8+, Open Women’s 1x, 2x and 2-, Open Men’s 4+, 4x and 8+, Master Women’s 2x, and the Master Men’s 8+. For many athletes this would be their second 3.6km race in the day. With a little more knowledge of the course and a drive to beat out their competition, ERC and the UART crews remained strong in their racing once again.

With the help of Vermillion’s rowing club in directing the busy traffic on the dock, crews were on and off the water in record timing throughout the day. By 4pm boats were being de-rigged and trailers were being loaded.

The day finished off with pizza courtesy of Vermillion and an awards ceremony. Out of the 18 boat classes that Edmonton and the University of Alberta raced in, they managed to take gold home in 13 of them! Winning crews got to take home a hand picked trophy out of the many that Vermillion gathered, and the winning Open Men’s and Women’s crews also received medals. Congratulations to the following athletes:

Junior Men’s 4x: Erik Hohnstein, Will Sheard, Anthony Encarnacion, Aaron Harrower

Open Women’s 1x: Leanne Leder

Open Women’s 2-: Andrea Labreque, Jess Phillips

Open Women’s 4x:Aline Belzil, Jacqueline McAuley, Allison Secord, Theora Gray

Open Women’s 8+: Andrea Labreque, Isabelle Belzil, Mallory Turner, Jess Phillips, Amanda Cinnamon, Leanne Leder, Becky Smith, Shannon Hill, Cox: Alex Martin

Open Men’s 1x: Ole Tietz

Open Men’s 2-: James Allan, Gregor Allan

Open Men’s 4-: Ben Altman, Haadi Shuaib, Arthur Firmino, Anthony Encarnacion

Open Men’s 8+: Ole Tietz, Quinn Brandley, Andrew Douglas, James Allan, Gregor Allan, Colin Findlay, Michael Armbrust, Burak Ozguluk, Cox: Deborah Johnson

Master Women’s 2x: Sheila Findlay, Allison Secord

Master Men’s 1x: Bill Sabey

Master Men’s 2x: Aaron Hartley, Phil Story

Master Men’s 8+: Charles Rannells, Glen Rollans, Frans Slatter, Ray McKall, Bill Sabey, Germar Lohstraeter, Rob Swart, Martyn Crowder, C. Alex Martin

The Head of the Vermillion was an extremely successful day for all of our athletes and was an excellent way commence fall racing! A special thanks goes to Neala MacDonald for taking incredible pictures throughout the day, our coaches Ali Williams and Sheila Findlay for keeping crews organized, on time and motivated, and finally the Vermillion Rowing Club for hosting this regatta!!

Regatta’s to follow Vermillion include the Dino Classic, , Head of the Gorge/Elk, Canadian University Rowing Championships and the National Rowing Championships. Good luck to all Edmonton and University rowers that will be continuing to race throughout the fall season!

As well, a special good luck goes out to the following Master’s Men who will be competing at the prestigious Head of the Charles in Boston in the coming weeks! Race well gentlemen!

Charles Rannells

Glen Rollans

Frans Slatter

Ray McKall

Bill Sabey

Doug Lynass

Rob Swart

Martyn Crowder

C. Alex Martin