Two Trips to Henley Island

Friday, August 30, 2013 -

In June, Tom G, Rogers ’14 (see above in mid-flight celebration) and his Brentwood crewmates in the Boys Varsity 8+ won the Calder Cleland Trophy as Canada’s fastest boys high school crew. www.insidehalton.com/sports-story/3850332-oakville-rowers-help-brentwood-win-250k-cleland-trophy It was Brentwood’s 13th time capturing this coveted award.

In early August, for the second time in two months, Tom found himself on the St. Catharines podium as he and his Don Rowing Club teammates won the Under 19 Boys’ 8+ at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta.

Tom returns to Brentwood next week to help build Brentwood 2013-2014 Varsity crew into National Champions once again.

Below are his recollections.

Once again, I found myself on Henley Island in early August. This time, however, I lacked the presence of my familiar Brentwood Crew. This time, I was to race with old friends, and former rivals.

We went into the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta with no idea as to how fast our competition would be. One thing we did know was that two of the boats in our heat placed third and fifth at US Club Nationals two weeks prior. In order to advance, we would have to beat at least one of them.

Despite how strong of a crew we were, we were not confident. We had a rocky season with mixed results leading up to Henley; we had no idea what to expect from ourselves. Even after we posted the fastest time in the heats by a margin of 6 seconds, we remained skeptical.

Despite spending the next 24 hours talking our way through every step of the race, transforming it into a step-by-step process to be mechanically executed, we were terrified. As we pulled into the start gate, all eighteen of our hands were shaking in anticipation of what was to come.

It wasn’t until 1000m into the race that I permitted myself to glance out of the boat and take note of the position of the other crews. To my disbelief, nobody was near us. Halfway through the race, we already had open water, and the distance was growing with each stroke.

After crossing the finish line, what we had accomplished did not sink in very quickly. I spent the better part of the next 3 minutes collapsed on top of my oar. It wasn’t until our eight had been pulled up to the grand stand, and my teammates all started getting out of the boat that I allowed myself to fully appreciate that we had just become Henley Champions.

Tom G, Rogers ‘14

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