The 2016 season started with lots of promise for the Lakeland College varsity rowing team. We had a record 10 veterans returning, a brand new boat, a lightweight double, and a home regatta. We were looking for a good turnout for the novice crews but in the end we had exactly enough novice women for our 8+ and no novice men. This made it challenging to put competitive crews together but we were still able to win some races.
The first race of the season was the Head of Vermilion, Saturday, September 24. This was our triennial home game which provided us with a tremendous variability in the weather; a cool drizzle for the morning launch and blue skies but a howling tailwind for the afternoon launch. Still we were able to host a very successful day of racing with over 150 athletes competing from all over Alberta. Rustler crew picked up first place in the novice women's quad, second place in the men's quad and third place in the novice women's 8+. When you only get to race at home once every three years it's always nice to give the home crowd something to cheer about. We also got to see our new boat in action and while the ladies did not medal, in their judgment the boat was awesome to race in!!
The following Saturday October 1 we were off to Calgary to race in the Dino Sprints and the Head of the Weasel (HOW). The sprints are essentially the University of Alberta rowing championships raced over Calgary's 1500 m course. The senior women's pair finished third in their race behind boats from the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta but the novice women's eight won their event by open water over their university competition. In the afternoon the racing turned to the 3000 m HOW and while none of the Rustler Crew boats won their event several of them had very strong races.
Rustler Crew now had two weeks off to prepare for the Western Canadian University Rowing Championships in Burnaby BC. Three crews competed there for Lakeland College including the men's pair, the women's pair and the junior varsity women's 4+. Under cool wet skies but still very good rowing conditions all three crews put in strong performances with both women's crews making their finals and the JV women's 4+ placing fifth behind a very strong field of West Coast crews.
With winter upon us we have now turned our attention indoors to our training on the rowing machines in preparation for the Alberta Indoor Rowing Championships which will be in March. As always we look forward to the longer days and the open water that will come again in April. Take no prisoners!!