The tattoo on the left arm of Rogers Bussey No. 2 oar James Cadigan represents the Royal St. Johnâs course record of eight minutes, 51.32 seconds he and No. 4 oar Ronnie Whitten (background) helped achieve as part of the Crosbie Industrial Services crew in 2007. Rogers Bussey has already set two course records this rowing season â in Placentia and Harbour Grace â but the members of the team insist their goal is simply to win Wednesday at Quidi Vidi. To do that, Rogers Bussey will have to defeat Toyota Plaza, the No. 1-seeded menâs crew. ââPhoto by Kenn Oliver
Brent Hickey, stroke oar for the Rogers BusseyâLawyers menâs crew, says the teamâs goal this year wasnât to rewrite the local rowing record books.
They just want to win races.
Still, that didnât stop them from setting new records at the first two events on the 2011 rowing calendar.
At the Placentia Regatta two weeks ago, Rogers Bussey won the championship with a time of eight minutes, 49.84 seconds. It was the second time that day the team had rowed under nine minutes.
Before this year, no other crew had ever gone below nine minutes at Placentia.
The previous course record was 9:00.15 by OâDea Earle in 2008.
âPlacentia was a bit of a surprise,â says Hickey.
âWe werenât going there to break the record, we just wanted to win and thatâs all we were thinking of.
âWe didnât realize we had broke the record until we docked the boat.â
Last weekend, the crew set a new standard at the Harbour Grace Regatta, clearing the course in 9:55.41, besting the previous record of 9:57.03.
As for whether or not the crew can complete a record-breaking trifecta by establishing a new standard at the 193rd RoyalâSt. Johnâs Regatta remains to be seen.
The 2011 Regatta goes Wednesday, weather permitting.
âThe last couple of years, weâve only been putting in the training during the summer months,â says Hickey.
âWe had been doing some ergometre and cardio throughout the winter, but not as much as we did back in 2007 or the other years we competed for the record.â
This yearâs crew has changed from the one that cruised to the menâs championship at QuidiâVidi in 2010. Ronnie Whitten, James Cadigan, Chris Neary and CraigâWhittle are back, but DanâCadigan suffered a broken hand during hockey season and wasnât available to row, and Matthew Manning had moved away for work purposes. Manning later returned to the province, but too late for him to rejoin his former team. Instead, he is rowing with Toyota Plaza, Rogers Busseyâs main rivals this year.
Filling the vacancies are Hickey and Adam Kavanagh, who like James Cadigan and Whitten were part of the 2007 Crosbie Industrial Services crew which set the St. Johnâs course record of 8:51.32.
âItâs great to have the boys back in the boat and it seems to be working out well for us now,â insists Whitten.
While the crew hasnât rowed under nine minutes atâQuidi Vidi yet, Hickey says itâs mostly because they havenât had the pond and weather conditions to attempt it.
âWe might have to wait for Regatta Day to try that,â he says.
Priority No. 1 for Rogers Bussey might be the Toyota Plaza crew which has shadowed their movements throughout the season, finishing second in the DiscoveryâDay Regatta and at Placentia, where they too rowed under nine-minutes.
And ToyotaâPlaza did get the best of Rogers Bussey in the St. Johnâsâtime trials last month, securing their boat of choice and Stake 1 in the menâs amateur race, the first male race on Wednesday.
âItâs not that we did anything wrong, they just rowed really well,ââWhitten says of the time-trial performance of Toyota Plaza, which includes MarkâPerry, Chris Quinton, Jeremy Kavanagh, PaulâHussey, Brent Payne, Manning and coxswainâRobertâRoach.
âIâve rowed with (Jeremy Kavanagh and Manning) before and I know they bring a lot to the boat and theyâre work ethic is unparalleled,â says Whitten.
Hickey feels Rogers Bussey didnât row up to its ability at time trials, but it helped reveal some small issues in the boat that required fine-tuning.
âItâs a weird sport sometimes in that you can get away from things a bit and not even realize youâre doing it,â Hickey explains.
âTime trials was a wake-up call and was probably the best thing that could have happened to us this year.â
Rogers Bussey will row out of Stake 2 in the menâs amateur and while itâs beenâWhittenâs favourite berth since 2000 when he won his first championship with NTV, he doesnât feel it will make a difference between the two heavily favoured crews.
âIf youâre on 2, the team on 1 is going to be right there with you going down the pond.
âThe race is never decided until after the turn anyway.â