Before rowers hit the water, Power had to hit the road

Kenn Oliver
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Games coach had to get the team’s boats from St. John’s to Sherbrooke in a couple of days

Paul Power

With the exception of the organizing committee, no one was happier that the 2013 Royal St. John's Regatta went ahead as scheduled last Wednesday than Paul Power.

And it wasn't because the longtime rowing coach had vacation plans for later in the week. It was because Power, head coach for Newfoundland and Labrador's rowing team at the Canada Summer Games, had to get on the road first thing Thursday morning in order to get the province's racing shells to Sherbrooke, Que., in time.

It was a tight schedule, especially since Power, attending his sixth straight Summer Games going back to 1993 in Kamloops, had to deal with a few delays along the way.

"Our wonderful ferry ran into the dock a few days before, so a lot of our options were changed due to that. It took some last minute fooling around to make sure we had the ferry," says Power, who ended up crossing over on Friday night.

After driving through Nova Scotia and most of New Brunswick on Saturday, Power was delayed again when he stopped to pick up four racing shells the Prince Edward Island team had rented from a private club in Quebec.

This was a stopover, however, that he was more than willing to make.

"I can remember four or five Games ago, one of my first Games, people were helping us out, so it's nice to be able to return the favour.," he relates.

Power wasn't alone on his road trip, boatman and coach Zach Meaney accompanied him on his 2,500-kilometre odyssey.

"It would be a very tough trip by yourself," laughs Power. "It's a lot of driving, so it was nice to have someone to talk to."

The duo arrived in southeastern Quebec late Sunday night, with only enough time to drop the boats off at Lac Magog, the Games rowing venue. By that time, all the other teams had already arrived and were well into setting up their boats for the Monday's practice day.

"When you trailer the boats, you have to take all the riggers off, so it's a bit of work once you get here in order to get rigged up and ready to go on the water," explains Power, who maintains the delays had little impact on the rowers' performances on the water.

"They could have had an extra practice if I had to get here a little earlier. So we were probably a little more rushed on our practice day."

While it took him a little longer than expected to make it to Sherbrooke, Power says it wasn't the longest boat delivery trip he's had to make for the Games.

"Even though this was a long run, it was still shorter than Regina in 2005. That took five days of driving."

The rowers are off today, but return to action on Friday with the consolation finals - or petite finals, as they call them in Quebec - and the medal finals.

 

Geographic location: Kamloops, Quebec, Nova Scotia New Brunswick Prince Edward Island Sherbrooke

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