In what proved to be the best performance by Ridley Rowing in more than two decades at the Mother’s Day Regatta Sunday on Martindale Pond on Henley Island, 18 crews rowed in the finals with nine earneing gold, one silver and three bronze for 13 medals in those 18 races. Ridley’s junior/development girls contributed to that total with a gold, silver and bronze.
Rowing is growing at Ridley College.A total of 60 rowers are participating at the school this year, about double the amount from only five years ago. “We have more coaches helping bring more kids into the sport at the school,” boys and junior coach Dereck Schwandt said. “The development side of things is huge and trying to draw more kids into it.”
Women’s rowing coach Siobhan McLaughlin agreed. “There have certainly been ups and downs over the years with numbers but we’re definitely coming up,” she said. “It’s not all about numbers but you need that critical mass to do a selection to get the really fast crews.” Those numbers are turning into success on the water.
The junior quad of Vanessa Russell, Claire Sun, Ella McRae and Ipek Derinkok took home gold while McRae and Derinkok teamed up to earn silver in the junior double. Russell, Sun, Chloe Cook and Olivia Grubic were awarded a bronze in the junior 59-kilogram quad.
“Just as exciting was to watch our novice sweep rowers, the junior four, having rowed together twice, passed two boats in their heat,” McLaughlin said. “Our senior eight battled side-by-side with another crew in not only their heat but also in their final and both times pulled away for a strong finish, ending the regatta with a fourth-place finish.
“We are excited to see where the girls can go from here.”
In senior girls action, Lucy Black earned gold in the women’s single and also teamed with Erin Broski for gold in the senior women’s double. As well, the women’s quad of Broski, Gabrielle Cook, Charlotte Drennan and Alex Cook earned gold.
Placing third in the senior women’s 63-kilogram double were Gabrielle Cook and Drennan.
“The athletes did a really solid job in applying what they have been working on in practices to their racing, and identifying what they can improve on from heat to final, and executing it in their next race,” McLaughlin added. “We have learned from these races and will work to improve our speed heading into Stotesbury this week, which is the largest high school regatta in the U.S.”
Schwandt was thrilled with the showing. “It was pretty cool. Five years ago I think we had five medals. Everyone rowed really well,” he said. “It surprised us a little because it was the first time we got to see any competition so you know if all the kids are doing the right things you can set yourself up to compete, but you don’t know until you actually race.”
At the junior national team selection trials held May 11, Lucy Black placed third, Drennan ninth, Erin Broski 10th, Alex Cook 14th and Gabrielle Cook 20th.