Delta Deas Rowing Club’s junior program will culminate a productive season by sending 13 athletes to the prestigious 137th Royal Canadian Henley Regatta in St. Catharines, Ont.
Held on the renowned Martindale Pond, the six-day regatta starts Tuesday and will feature clubs from around the world. DDRC is participating for the first time in several years, reflecting the vision of head coach Drew Edwards and junior coach Kris Davis.
Back in May, South Delta Secondary students and junior members Hana Anderson and Ellie Gach made history at their school by attending the Canadian Scholastic Championships, that also took place on the Henley course. More recently, Quinn Torok, Caitlin Lawrence and Sophie Brynne-Atkins represented their country at the CanAmMex Regatta in Florida.
Delta crews will be competing in eight races in St. Catherines.
“We have fast athletes going right now and this is an opportunity they need to see and experience,” said Edwards. “This is the pinnacle event from 52 weeks of training and we want this to be an annual big trip for us.”
“This is the best of the best from the school teams in club programs with international entries too. For a club of our size to have eight entries is pretty good.”
The bulk of training on the Deas Slough leading up to the championships have been two-hour weekday morning sessions that get underway at 5 a.m.
“Everyone does it across the country. Mornings provide the best water and lowest heat. And in the summer, kids have jobs too,” explained Davis. “University programs always row in the mornings. It makes it easier for studies and it even comes down to coaching availability as well. I have a job I have to get to after this.”
“The only drawback is we are training in cool temperatures which will make the adaption of going back east to compete pretty tough.”
It should be no problem for Torok and Lawrence who spent a week training and competing in Florida as part of the junior invite from Rowing Canada.
“It was definitely hot,” smiled Torok. “But it was pretty fun too and just a change for us getting to row in bigger boats that our club doesn’t own just yet.”
Lawrence spent all of her time rowing with athletes mainly from Ontario. She thinks being in that elite environment sets them up well for the Royal Canadian Henley.
“It definitely gives up a better mindset going into such a bigger competition, she said. “It was a neat experience.”