Canadian Henley Blog

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posted Aug 19, 2014, 2:11 PM by City Island Athlete

    We were in the stake boat, and there was one minute until the green light would flash, and we would be on. The whole thing is kind of a blur, and all I remember is skulling Courtney's oar. We had only practiced this boat once, but I knew that every girl in it was prepared to give it there all. The light flashed and we were out. The exhiliration was unreal. We went through the start sequence at like a 50, and since I couldn't hear Natalie I was just power tening, wondering when the stroke rate would go down, and we would  settle into our stride. At the thousand meter mark I accepted the fact that the stroke rate was going to stay high, and I realized that that was what real racing felt like. 
    During the U19 eight race, I dug a lot deeper, and found a new kind of racing in myself. At points during the race, I thought I was going to die of an asthma attack (and I don't have asthma), and I was seriously considering jumping out. Then I thought about the girl behind me and in front of me, and I continued to dig a little deeper.I was racing for every girl in the boat, and since I care so much about everyone, being in so much pain and fighting until the end was totally worth it. At the end of the race, my throat was on fire and I could barely move, but somehow it was the most rewarding feeling I have ever experienced. I knew that I just gave it my all, and even though the results weren't exactly what we were hoping for, the experience was once in a lifetime. 
    One thing that was special to me, was the amount of support floating around the team. Hearing everyone cheering as we were coming down the course was something special, and gave me the excitement to keep pushing. Knowing that everyone is always genuinely happy for you no matter their results, and knowing that everyone is always cheering for you to do your best is a special thing that not everyone can say they have, and it is one of the reasons we are all so close.  
    Looking back on the week, I think everyone would agree that it was a blast. The team became so much closer, and all of our friendships were strengthened with great new memories. We had a fabulous train ride up together, we got to see Niagara falls together, and we shared many laughs at many meals. I was so sad when the week had to come to an end, and I cannot wait for next year!


Canadian Henley

posted Aug 19, 2014, 6:23 AM by City Island Athlete

Every two thousand meter race is different. Lineups change. Boats change. Technique changes. But the pain is always the same. It starts at the thousand meter mark, creeping up your forearms from your numb fingertips. The weight of your arm surpasses the weight of the entire boat and your shoulders ache from the load. Your thighs are burning and every breath is harder to take.

Over the course of the last week we spent at Canadian Henley, I crossed that thousand meter mark fives times, and if I could do it all again, I would. Wouldn’t we all?

My favorite part of Canadian Henley was the paddle up to the stake boat for the U17 quad semi-final. Every great race I have had so far has begun with an awful row up to the course; this race was no different. Convinced the boat had somehow gotten heavier overnight, I began to panic. We nearly hit three boats trying to practice their starts, and I caught a number of crabs while we practiced ours. To say the least, it was very stressful.

Secured in the stake boat with only three minutes left until our race, we took three breaths together, to calm each other down and further sync our bodies. After those three breaths, no one said anything until the beginning of the race; and for those three minutes, I have never felt closer to three people in my life.

There’s something about sharing a passion that brings people together; I have never raced harder than I did in the semi-final for the quad, and it paid off. To be able to say we made it to a final in the largest regatta in North America is amazing, especially considering the little time we had to prepare for it. Knowing that we started CIR on our own blood, sweat and tears made every race at Canadian Henley more meaningful and more remarkable. Reflecting back on Canadian Henley, I will always remember what it felt like to make it to my first final race, how hard I pushed, and how quickly a week can go by.

I can’t wait until next year!


Canadian Henley Reflection

posted Aug 15, 2014, 12:03 PM by City Island Athlete   [ updated Aug 15, 2014, 12:04 PM ]

The trip to Canadian Henley was unlike any other rowing experience I have ever had. Just being apart of the environment, that was both a mix of very competitive rowing and genuine love for the sport, was unbelievable. Leading up to the trip I had heard many great things about Canadian Henley, but I can honestly say that the experience far surpassed my expectations. 

The racing in Canada, for lack of a better word, was epic. Besides the fact that the crews came from all over the world to race, which was incredible enough, they all came with an impressive amount of intensity and speed. It was not only amazing to be able to watch this fast racing take place, but to also be apart of it. It was clear that every race we dug a bit deeper and were able to push ourselves a bit farther to achieve our own goals. My proudest moment from racing was in the U23 lightweight 2x. Courtney and I went into the race with no expectations, given that we were racing girls who were potentially 7 years older than us (we have an average age of just under 16). While we wanted to advance to semis more than anything, we knew that it was an uphill battle for us. However, we just got out on the water and raced as hard as we could. I am so proud of how we hung on through the pain, giving it our all every stroke. The last 250 meters felt never ending and as I described it, I felt like I was run over by a train for the next few hours, but it was completely worth it just knowing that we made it to a semifinal. The highly anticipated ice cream and eating-fest post lightweight racing certainly helped as well!  

It wasn’t just the racing that made the trip so much fun though. Being able to spend so much time together as a team was really nice. We have all grown incredibly close, which made it really special to share this experience with everyone (especially as we say goodbye to everyone going off to college this fall!). From just hanging out on the train ride up to Canada to the opening fireworks to breakfasts at Rozie’s everyday to the trip to Niagara Falls, there were few times away from the race course where we weren’t all smiling and laughing. The impromptu dancing we had after dinner at Copacabana in Niagara was particularly entertaining to watch! It is amazing to me to see how far we have come in just a few weeks, but I know that is a result of how hard everyone has worked. I feel so fortunate to be apart of such a dedicated, supportive team and am so excited to see what we are able to accomplish next!

- Jordan 

Canadian Henley

posted Aug 12, 2014, 4:21 PM by City Island Athlete

Canada was awesome between having stunning weather and incredible scenery, not to mention being surrounded by crews from all over the world.  The regatta venue couldn’t have been better (maybe a little less mud would have been nice) and it was so much fun to cheer each other on from the grandstand.  But perhaps the most valuable part of the entire trip was the races themselves. 

After an overwhelming and nerve-wracking series of events leading up to the U19 4+ race (Melanie, Jordan, myself, Maggie, and Natalie B), we reflected and came to the unison conclusion that the race itself was fine.  Not a bad race by any means, but there was certainly room for more power and determination.

The next day, Maggie and I raced in the U19 2x and, despite my miserable bowing “skills”, were confident that we had pushed ourselves beyond our comfort zones.  We both finished exhausted and proud of the 2,000 meters we had just rowed together. 

Fast forward to Friday, which was the day of the U19 8+.  The race felt incredible to say the least and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we all left more out there than we knew we had in us.  I can personally say that I couldn’t feel my feet for about three hours!

All last week, I was thinking to myself about how exceptional it was that we had not even had three weeks of water practices, and yet we were staying in the mix with some of the fastest crews around.  However, taking a step back I realize that while that might be a crazy feat for other teams, it’s not for this one.  This group of athletes and coaches is the most dedicated one I could ever imagine, and we're successful because we are constantly pushing each other (and letting ourselves be pushed) to go that extra inch.  

Thank you to everyone (especially Guy, Maddy, and Abbie) for making it an amazing week! 

-Natalie K

Regatta Reflection

posted Aug 12, 2014, 9:44 AM by City Island Athlete   [ updated Aug 12, 2014, 9:46 AM ]

Our week in Canada was filled with so many fun and exciting memories, it was difficult to narrow the list down to my favorite one. The U19 8+ race stands out to me as my favorite part of the week. Having practiced in the boat only once before Canadian Henley, we were not sure what to expect. From the first stroke of the race until the finish line, there was no question all 9 girls were giving it their all and that was an incredible and indescribable feeling. 
I learned this week that the results of the race are secondary to how the race feels. As athletes, we spend the majority of our time training or thinking about training so that we can we happy with our results on race day. When we finally row into the stake boat and it's nearly impossible to control nerves, or mid race in when you do not know if you can hang on till the finish, racing comes from the heart and your commitment to the  girl in front of and behind you. If you have prepared well for the race and have no energy at the finish, there is not reason to think twice about the results. 
Just after crossing the finish line, I collapsed and broke into tears. For a while I thought it was because of the physical pain and exhaustion I and the rest of the boat faced during the 2000 meter race. A few deep breaths later I wondered if I was disappointed by the results of the race, but was certain it was something else. After getting back to the dock and putting the boat and oars away, it occurred to me the actual reason for my tears was the girls in the boat along with the rest of City Island Rowing. 
I am so lucky to belong to a club where every athlete shares a common love and passion for rowing and where the coaches respect their athletes' goals, commitment, and well being. Headed off to college in just a few weeks, I cannot help but think about how much each person at City Island Rowing has  impacted and will continue to impact my life for the better. Not racing with CIR during the year will be different, but I am so excited to watch the team's success in the next year and see what we can bring to next year's Canadian Henley!

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posted Aug 6, 2014, 7:10 AM by City Island Athlete

Hello to all bloggers from Nina and Alexa!!! We had our first day of racing, and it was absolutely exhilarating! Not only are we at Canadian Henley, but we took our first strokes as city island rowing, which is so cool. The team dynamic and the constant  support and cheering from our teammates  was incredible and made the first day, though it had some tough racing, so much fun! The U19 Four (Natalie B, Melanie, Maggie, Natalie K, Jordan) got fifth in their heat,  Chloe and Tory's U17 Double got fifth in their heat, and our U17 Double got third place in our heat. Not of the races progressed to the semis but  all raced well and got some great experience! 
When we first got here, we went to the opening ceremony and watched beautiful fireworks kick off the event. We sat out in the grand stands, ate great pizza, and generally had a great time. So excited to be here , and so excited to see what the week will bring! 


posted Aug 3, 2014, 5:13 PM by Head Coach

Hi everyone! Welcome to the official Canadian Henley blog site for 2014! The girls will be updating the blog daily, hopefully with plenty of photos and stories! Stay tuned!

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