NANAIMO — April is the start of the regatta season for the Nanaimo Rowing Club.
The first event on the rowing calendar was the Duelling Over a Grand Regatta at Elk Lake in Victoria last weekend.
It was a first place finish for Nanaimo's Jr. C Men's Quad of Micheal Jonah-Bigg, Markus Jonah-Bigg, Megan Duifhuis and Shemus Inglis.
In the Jr. C Men's Doubles category Cohen Inglis and Ethan Watchorn took home second place.
Now that the season is underway the rowers, most of them high school age, will be on the water nearly every weekend until the end of May.
Then they'll have a short break until the onset of the summer season.
Coach Craig Rutherford says the performance of the Nanaimo crews has been very consistent so far even in training.
"Almost everyone's putting down really strong results. The Jr. A Men's Double I think is really going to be a force all season from what we've seen. So we're really hoping for big things from them," Rutherford said.
On a typical practice day on Long Lake there will be anywhere from 15-20 athletes on the water and as many as eight boats.
One of the season highlights will be the local regatta called the Nanaimo Sprints which is a 1000m race on May 27-28.
Rutherford says there are two major events the rowers are focusing on.
"The Brentwood International Regatta takes place in Mill Bay at the end of April. It's crews from all over western Canada, and the western United States down into California," said Rutherford. "Also in the summer we have the Royal Canadian Henley which takes place in St. Catharines Ontario. Basically every major club in North America is there."
Interest in rowing in the Nanaimo area has been going up in the last few years according to Rutherford.
Local success stories like that of Riley Knight competing for her country at the CanAmMex Regatta last year in Florida can act as inspiration for younger rowers thinking about getting into the sport.
The current season continues this coming weekend with the Maple Bay Regatta on Quamichan Lake in Duncan on Apr 8.
The Nanaimo contingent will look to build on a solid showing from a week ago.
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