While Aline and Ali were gallivanting around Mexico in maple leaf plastered clothing, the majority of the Senior Competitive and Masters squads made the trip out to Vancouver Island to compete at the BC Championships. The ERC was represented by approximately 30 athletes with an age range from 16 to somewhere around the high sixties – the masters rowers were careful about providing exact details, although it is rumored that Charles Rannells often adopts a triple digit age to increase his handicap. The BC Championship is one of the most important regattas of the summer season for the Senior Competitive team because it represents the most comprehensive test for potential Henley crews. The competition is tough with top quality entries from Rowing Canada, Victoria City Rowing Club, University of Victoria Rowing Club, University of British Columbia Rowing Club, Burnaby Lake Rowing Club, and many others. The ERC was the third biggest club at the regatta with a total of 45 entries.


The Masters squad got the action underway in the Masters 4+ on Friday afternoon. The crew of Ray McKallFrans SlatterCharles RannellsKerry Mummery and cox Robert Cassidy raced well in difficult conditions but had to concede the win to their archrivals from Victoria City by half a boat length. The victorious Vic City crew included the illustrious names of Harrison, Lathrop and Lamb, but Ray McKall was quick to point out the 70 age average crew from Victoria did not play by the rules: “Most of these guys train twice a day…” Sources close to the Masters camp report that the finer points of this etiquette violation were discussed at a joint dinner on Saturday night. 

After switching their sweep for sculling oars and promoting Patrica Juare z and Caitlyn Courtier to the rank of Masters rower, Kerry and Charles took to the water again to contest the Masters Mixed 4x. This time the crew beat their Victoria City counterparts, including the famous Harrison and Lathrop, on the most prestigious of all measurements – the “raw time” score. Once the handicaps were added up and the “adjusted time” published, the Edmonton crew had to concede that “more age” needed to be brought to the crew. The Masters 4x of Charles RannellsRay McKallRob Swart and Doug Lynass went on to take line honors against their Vic City counterparts of Harrison, Lathrop and Lamb again on Saturday afternoon, just to miss out on the basis of (so called) adjusted time.


Racing on Saturday started at 6:30 am, with some of the lightweights hitting the weigh-in scales as early as 5 am. After a long morning of time trials and preliminary heats, the first final of the day was the Open Womens 4-. The ERC boated two crews to contest this event, one heavyweight and one lightweight, who were up against two crews from the University of Victoria. The ERC heavyweight 4-, of Andrea LabrecqueAmanda CinnamonMallory Turner and Kendra Hartley raced well and finished a close second between the two UVic crews. Amanda was forthcoming in providing a quick race analysis: “During the middle we were almost a full boat length behind but the Basics remembered what their coach Ole had said, step at the 1500 and then just keep stepping. We doubted him but gave it a try and we managed to walk them. They tried to come back in the final 250 but we had a really amazing finish and were super happy with our race.” “The Basics?” a curious reporter enquires and Amanda explains: {Basics, the: self-assigned nickname that refers to the ERC’s heavyweight Womens squad and is rumored to derive from the group’s preferred Starbucks drink}. The lightweight 4- was crewed by Kayla RiceEmily DolphinGeorgie Hyland and Lara Damen. The lightweights held their own against much bigger opposition and took an important step on their way to Henley. Kayla and Emily are graduates of last year’s UART novice squad and are doing extremely well in their first season of racing, Lara joined the ERC following a stint of Junior rowing at the Vancouver Rowing Club, and Georgie is an ERC summer student who likes showers and naps.


The lightweight women’s four put on their game faces as they make their way to the start line


Next up was the lightweight Men’s 4x of Mark BonarOle TietzDillon Peters and Quinn Brandly who competed in the Open Mens 4x event. The ERC crew was up against stiff competition from Victoria City and the University of Victoria. The boys were able to deliver a trade mark ERC start and move out to a half-length lead over the pack by the 250 m mark. The boat spent the remainder of the race terrified of being “out-gunned” by the larger heavyweight crews and went through a series of pushes to extend their lead to a full boat length. The crew held on to the finish line and became the first big boat from Edmonton to win a BC Championship title in an Open event. Bowseat Quinn’s excitement was palpable when he informed the crowd the boat was “pretty snappy” and went on to celebrated the occasion by demonstrating his flat water diving skills. 

Mark and Dillon joined the ERC this summer while on a co-op placement in Edmonton. Mark’s rowing career has taken him from Vancouver College to Queen’s University and occasionally to UBC. Dillon started rowing at the Don Rowing Club in Toronto and went on to row with the McGill Varsity program.


The lightweight men’s 4x enroute to the ERC’s first big boat victory at BC Champs in an open event


The ERC competitive team is excited to have amongst them a large and hardworking lightweight Women’s squad this season. Not to be outdone by their heavyweight counterparts the girls have adopted a nickname. A member of the squad, who wishes to remain anonymous, explains: {Rice Krispy Squares, the: assigned and subsequently embraced nickname that refers to the ERC’s lightweight Women’s squad. Origin disputed; but likely alluding to weight, color and nutritional value of the rice krispy square; possibly derived from last name of stroke seat Kyla Rice. Frequently shortened to “Krispy”}. The “Krispies” were out in full force to contest the Open Women’s 8+ event. The crew of Kyla RiceTheora GrayCalaine InglisEmily DolphinGeorgie HylandMallory Turner (super-sub and honorary Krispy), Lara DamenAmanda Cinnamon (super-sub and honorary Krispy) and cox Robert Cassidy were no more than half the size of the UVic crew they were up against. Indeed, some pundits on the bank suggested that the 5-seat of the UVic boat combined the entire stern four of the ERC crew in one person. Despite the size disadvantage the crew performed admirably to place fourth in the final.


Michael Hohnstein and Colin Findlay threw their ergometer and sculling power at the competition in the Open Mens 2x. The crew had raced extremely well in the time trial and made the A-Final. After some pre-race disputes over the stroke rate that should be hit off the start – “No more than 28 in the rough water” – “28 is way too low” – the crew confirmed that they deserve to race the best on the West coast and crossed the line a very respectable 20 seconds adrift of two Rowing Canada doubles to take third place in the U23 category. Further racing in the Mens 2x division was Basketball maestro turned rower Todd Bergen-Henengouwen and his doubles partner Scott Rusnak. The relatively new combination time trialed well to gain a spot in the B-Final, but conditions during the finals race proved challenging and the two heavyweights finished 12th overall. Ben Altman / Torrin LemireJohn Carr / Roland Dennett, and Conner Stephens / Luis Rodriguez contested an internal championship for the U23 lightweight Mens 2x title in the C-Final of the competition. The relationship and harmony between club manager Ben and summer student Torrin proved superior and secured victory in the C-Final.


After a successful season in the pair last year, the combination of Amanda Cinnamon and Andrea Labrecque decided to tackle the challenge of sculling at a national level and promptly split up to race one another in the B-Final of the Open Womens 1x competition. After an even split of wins and losses in training which saw the two separated by only a canvas after 4 km of head to head racing at last year’s Competitive Directors Challenge Cup, Andrea proved to be the stronger sculler on this occasion placing 3rd to Amanada’s 5th place in the B-Final. Further racing were Kendra HartleyMallory TurnerPatricia Juarez and Caitlyn Couturier who finished 23rd, 24th, 29th and 30th respectively. Patricia is another 2014 UART Novice graduate and Caitlyn has recently rejoined the club after a stint in the beautiful country of Sweden.


The last race of day was the eagerly awaited semifinal in the U17 Men’s 1xAaron Harrower had qualified for the semifinal with a solid second place performance in the heat. The heat proved a little more than just tough racing, as a fleet of coach boats attempted to sink the young ERC sculler by cutting across the course in between the first place boat and Aaron half way through the final 500 m. The semifinal proved a close affair where only the top three boats would progress to the final. Aaron held on to his rhythm and his nerves in fourth place and decided to throw the kitchen sink at it with 750 m to go. Aaron explains: {throw the kitchen sink, to: the final stage of the sprint in a rowing race, also referred to as the “close your eyes and go” stage}. Aaron picked up his boat speed and hung on to place third and qualify for final on Sunday morning. After the spirited semifinal, Aaron legs were spent, but he managed to rouse himself to a great 6th place finish in the final. 

Lara Damen is ready to race

Lara Damen is ready to race