When novices row together good things happen, says Peter Walsh, Lakeland College Rustler Crew rowing coach.
And good things did happen for the Rustlers Novice women's rowing team – winning gold at the Western Canadian University Rowing Championships in Victoria B.C. on Oct. 28.
With the help of two pickups, one each from the University of Regina and the University of Calgary, the women took the top spot in the Novice women's 8+ event against Simon Fraser University, University of the Fraser Valley, University of Victoria, University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.
"We rowed very consistently, evenly, cleanly and together," Walsh says. "We had a good clean start and so did the U of A, and right off the bat U of A was out in front. We were right with them for most of the race but we were not gaining any water on them. With 300 metres to go, we took advantage of a major technical error by the U of A and moved by them, but then had to hold off the hard-charging crew from U Vic to secure the gold."
Right off the block, Rebecca Kitzul, first-year crop technology student and first-year rower, says she knew the final race was going to be an eye-opening experience.
"We were in with the pack from start, and being together with all of the boats through the entire race was eye-opening."
And, it wasn't crossing the finish line that had Kitzul excited. It was watching all of the other boats cross after their boat and cheering them on, she says.
"Crossing the finish line was amazing. But watching everyone cross after us was my favourite part. There was one boat lagging, so we started cheering for them to cross. It was cool that we won, but we wanted to stay humble."
The first place achievement wrapped up the Rustlers Novice women's rowing season. The Rustlers men's crew also wrapped up their season at the championships with a sixth-place finish in the A final.
With help from one of the ladies, they raced above their category in the Junior Varsity 4+ and rowed a very respectable race and put out probably their best technical effort of the season.