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Rowing to the nationals
By Sean Maraj
Western's rowing team is hoping to row their boats gently down the stream, past the competition and through the finish line at this weekend's Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union championships.
After becoming the first Western team to win an Ontario University Athletics championship last weekend, the women rowers are looking forward to taking it all at the championships. As a result of their provincial triumph, the women rowers were also looking to improve their national standings.
"We're pretty pleased winning the [OUA] banner. We're ranked third [nationally] and hope to improve on that. Our main competition is the University of Victoria," said Al Morrow, Western women's head coach.
Sibhan Mclaughlin, a heavyweight rower with the Mustangs, said she was also looking forward to this weekend and will be looking to the west coast as the most likely location of her team's biggest challenge. "We should do pretty well, probably our strongest competition is from out West."
Morrow said the team is preparing for potentially bad weather, which may pose problems for the rowers. "The weather is going to play a factor and this weekend we're expecting typical fall weather," he said. "We're anticipating that the wind is going to be a huge factor."
Men's head coach Volker Nolte agreed with Morrow and said this weekend's rowing could be difficult because of the weather, but added no matter what the conditions, his team will still be rowing for championship gold. "With rowing there's always weather concerns. For the weekend it should get better. But we'll take snow and everything else and row."
The men's team, who have been battling a limited number of rowers throughout the season, still managed to finish second at the OUAs. They are also looking forward to a strong performance at the CIAUs.
Lightweight rower Tomi Nieminen said despite the team's lack of depth, the Mustangs still have enough talent to roll some heads when the championships begin.
"We have to have everyone working together. On paper we're going to do really well, we just have to have clear heads and something to spark us. We have phenomenal rowers, we just need a spark," he said.
Nolte said he was also optimistic about his team's chances of winning and said despite the lack of rowers, the team has enough talent to pull out a win. "The mood on the team is quite excited, we have an outside chance to win this year. We have a small but realistic chance of winning," he said.
The CIAU championships will take place this weekend in St Catherines.