The Roebothan McKay Marshall women’s crew has all the ingredients to win a Royal St. John’s Regatta championship.
Now all the team has to do is prove it.
The crew, which includes four returnees from last year’s Lamb’s Rum crew, is fresh off winning the Placentia and Harbour Grace regattas, but the big one is today at Quidi Vid Lake, weather permitting, and coxswain Gord Delaney is confident the defending champs can be dethroned.
Delaney is expecting a close competition with m5, last year’s winners, but he feels his crew can beat the defending champs “without question,” although he admitted, “The winner is going to be the crew that makes the least amount of mistakes.”
He claims his team — which had the fastest clocking in the Regatta time trials — is “mentally strong and the athletes are just pure competitors.”
Of course, he’s not underestimating m5. Either team, he said, would be a worthy champion.
Last August at Quidi Vidi, the m5 crew posted the fastest time of the day in the morning Female Amateur race with a time of 4:58.60, less than two seconds off the 4:56.70 women’s course record.
“I think it’s going to be a great final and I hope we’re on the winning end. I think the spectators at the head of the lake are in for a show,” Delaney said .
Delaney will cox the crew of stroke Jennifer Carroll, Krista Carew, Beth Davis, Meghan Dalton, Kerri Ann Evely and Alison Jones. Paul Power and Doug Trainor are the coaches.
Delaney says there are a couple of things which have made RRM a crew to be reckoned with.
“This team didn’t question anything the coaching staff told them to do,” said Delaney. “They believe in what we are doing. Their work ethic is phenomenal.
“And I’ve never seen six women get along so well and care about each other.”
Carroll, Krista Carew, Meghan Dalton and Alison Jones rowed with Lamb’s, which finished third in the 2010 final, a dozen seconds behind m5’s championship time of 5:05.22.
Beth Davis, who hasn’t rowed in a couple of years and Keri Ann Evely, who hasn’t rowed since 2005, are the other members of the crew.
Evely, who starred for Memorial Sea-Hawks wrestling team, and currently coaches the varsity grapplers, is happy to be aboard Delaney’s crew.
With seven years of rowing experience to her credit, Evely said she stepped out of the boat in 2005 to concentrate on her coaching duties and other things.
“Gord’s persistence,” brought her back, she said with a laugh.
In 2005, Evely rowed with Exit Realty on the Rock, a team which included Ann Murrin, the former MUN Sea-Hawks basketball star, who is rowing this year with m5.
Evely said she had an itch to come back and early morning practices never really bother her, anyway.
“The right team, right team spirit, right coxswain and right coaches,” she said were other incentives to return to Quidi Vidi Lake.
Evely, who will pull the No. 2 oar, also was familiar with a couple of RRM crew members, having rowed with Carew in 2003 and she knew Dalton, the former MUN Sea-Hawks basketball star, from university.
“Gord said he had a good crew and, really, I was looking for any opportunity to get back in the boat,” Evely said.
Evely was known as a very competitive wrestler and she admitted, “Any sport I take on, I can’t go at it any other way.”
Delaney said his team didn’t go into the Placentia and Harbour Grace regattas with any time in mind.
“We just wanted to row clean races and go as fast as we can,” he said.
“We’ve been training since October and it all comes down to five minutes in August, but you want to get in as many races you can against your competition.”
The RMM crew set a new course record in winning at Harbour Grace and was just shy of a record in Placentia.
“Not to sound cocky, but we were 35 seconds ahead of the next best team in Harbour Grace,” noted Delaney.
The m5 crew did not race in either Harbour Grace or Placentia
“We were happy with both races,” said Delaney, before adding they probably could have rowed faster times with stronger competition.
RMM has gone head-to-head against m5 this year, coming away with a faster result in the time trials, while m5 was tops in the Discovery Day races.
“A couple of strong teams feed off each other,” he said and he’s expecting a strong team when his crew lines up against m5 in the Female Amateur Race, scheduled to open today’s regatta at 8:30 a.m.
Whatever the outcome of that opening race, the same crews will likely face off in a rematch in the women’s final at 7 p.m.