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!