Volume 92, Issue 11

Monday, September 22, 1998

temper temper


Mustang rowers on road to repeat

Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
DID WE JUST PASS BY THE LOCH NESS MONSTER? The Western men and women rowers are determined not to let anything get in their way this year as they prepare to defend their OUA titles.

By Asher Markam
Gazette Writer

What is a coxswain anyway? Aren't they those small people who sit in the front of a rowing boat and scream, "stroke...stroke...stroke"?

These are stereotypes Western coxswains Leanne Richardson and Adam McNeill would like to extinguish.

In fact, the word "stroke" is never yelled out and the coxswains have a lot more responsibility than one might think.

"Basically what we do is call workouts during practices, call a race plan during races, get the crew to change technique if necessary and just notice little things wrong with people's strokes," Richardson said. "We're pretty much an on-water coach for the four and eight-person crews."

The coxswains are also in charge of caring for the boats which cost between $25,000 and $30,000. They also make sure the crew is prepared both physically and mentally for the race.

McNeill feels very comfortable with his new crew in his first year at Western.

"I feel really lucky to be part of a crew here that appreciates a good coxswain," McNeill said. "There are a lot of crews out there that just don't care, which makes this role much less enjoyable."

Richardson and McNeill were looking to lead their respective crews to victory last Sunday morning at the Western Open and found a great deal of success – winning the women's eights and singles in the heavy and lightweight divisions.

The men were victorious in the lightweight fours and doubles – however they placed second to Brock in the heavyweight eights by a nine-second margin.

Although men's coach Volker Nolte expects a strong year again, after winning the Ontario University Athletics division for five straight seasons, it will undoubtedly be tough to match last year's performance.

"We are expecting a harder year as we are short on experience with about half of our men graduating last year," Nolte said. "Brock will likely be our toughest competition since they didn't lose as many veterans, but we have some good young guys coming in who will be fine with a little more experience."

The women on the other hand have a lot of veterans returning and are expecting to repeat their victory at last year's OUA championships. Coach Al Morrow was pleased with his team's performance, but realizes there is still a lot of work to be done.

"The Western Open is typically considered as an exhibition regatta as are all the others we participate in leading up to the OUAs on Nov. 1," Morrow explained. "It isn't the actual regatta that is important, but the fact that we get the team into competitive situations so that they can obtain experience and we can evaluate them."

At any rate, if Sunday is any indication, Western should be in for yet another exciting and dominating year.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998