Volume 93, Issue 26
Wednesday, March 18, 1999
Mustang rowing rocks the boat
Photo supplied by the rowing team
THERE'S GOLD IN THEM THAR MEDALS. Western's rowing team hopes to be posing for a similar picture with the Ontario University Athletic finals right around the corner.
By Wes Brown
Western's rowing teams have consistently shown they stroke better than the competition no matter what the size or weight.
Both the Mustang men's and women's teams have always been at the top of the province and this year has not been different. As the season winds down and with the Ontario University Athletics finals on the horizon, the men and women reflect on both this year and last.
Dafydd Davies, captain of the men's team and a fifth-year rower, said last year's second place finish to Brock University was the result of a year spent rebuilding the team. "Last year was the first time in five years we weren't able to win the OUAs. We always beat Brock and that day we just didn't, losing by four or five points," he said.
Last season, Western was able to beat Brock at the Canadian University Rowing championships, finishing runner-up again to a strong University of Victoria team. This season, Davies said Western's lightweight team remains undefeated and the rest of the crews are also strong.
"I would say we are probably ranked second right now behind Brock. It will be close going into the Ontario finals. We hate Brock right now, we would like to make them cry," he said.
Men's head coach Volker Nolte said this year's team is a step up from last year's, agreeing last year was one for rebuilding. "We were short on experience after losing a lot of people and having new ones move in. In the end, I was still very happy with the way the rowers did last year."
Western is motivated to challenge Brock and Nolte said both teams are equal in talent. However he admitted there was a shortage of rowers for both teams. "We don't have as many people coming from our novice program and all around the league there has been a lack of heavy weight rowers. We need to work on summer guidance and training," he said.
Amanda Schweinbenz, a fifth-year veteran of the woman's team, said they are presently ranked number one in the OUAs. She added both the light and heavyweights have done well. "Both weight groups have won almost every race this season. Mentally, we are a lot better there are a lot of veterans on the team," she said.
The women are presently coming off a championship season, winning the OUAs and picking up the bronze at the CUR championships. The University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia came in first and second place respectively at the nationals and Schweinbenz said they are always at the top.
"The B.C. climate allows those teams to row all year round. They're out on the water in January where we have to go indoors on rowing machines, giving them a big advantage," she said.
Although the Mustang women should do well at the Ontario finals, Schweinbenz said they still need to watch out for the University of Toronto's Varsity Blues and Queen's University's Golden Gaels who are always tough. "Nothing is set in stone. Unless you have eight national team members in one boat, you are not guaranteed a win."
Western women's head coach Al Morrow said the team is on schedule to win again this season.
He added a key advantage was that many team members had rowed in the summer. "We are on schedule to win but it will come down to everyone coming through for their individual races."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999