New record in sight for defending mens champs

Darcy MacRae
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Crosbie Industrial Services beats old mark by eight seconds during practice

The Crosbie Industrial Services crew gets in an evening practice on Quidi Vidi Lake Thursday. From left are: coach Bert Hickey, stroke Brent Hickey, Adam Kavanagh, Ronnie Whitten, Eddie Williams, James Cadigan and Darryl Ryan. Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Te

A few jaws dropped and a number of eyebrows were raised this week at Quidi Vidi Lake during practice for this years Royal St. Johns Regatta.

The reason for the shocked expressions was the fact Crosbie Industrial Services, the defending mens champions, rowed a fantastic time just one week before the annual Derby Day, completing the course in eight minutes and 49 seconds, a full eight seconds better than the all-time record set by the Butternut crew in 1997.

Difference being, of course, Butternut clocked their time on Regatta Day.

It does a lot for (the crews) confidence, said Bert Hickey, Crosbie Industrials coach.

It lets them know where they are, that under similar conditions on Regatta Day theres no reason they should not row the same time. It makes them all that much hungrier to go all out.

The Crosbie Industrial Services crew, which includes coxswain Mark Hayward, stroke Brent Hickey, Adam Kavanagh, Ronnie Whitten, Eddie Williams, James Cadigan and Darryl Ryan, is without a doubt the favourite to win the mens championship this year.

Racing against the clock

Theres even some chatter that no other crew can come close to the defending champs and on Regatta Day they will be rowing against the clock instead of their competition.

In the time trials, Crosbies were a full eight seconds quicker than their nearest rival, Exit Realty on the Rock.

I cant say were not rowing against the clock, but thats not to say we dont respect the other crews, said coach Hickey. Theres the Exit Reality crew thats right on our heels and we dont think its a foregone conclusion that well beat them. If we make one mistake, theyre ahead of us.

Regarding the possibility of his team setting a new Regatta record, Hickey downplays things a little bit. He points out that conditions were perfect Wednesday, there was no wind resistance at all, and thats not something his rowers can count on come Regatta Day.

The fact we rowed 8:49 last night indicates were within striking distance, but it all depends on wind conditions, he said.

Coach familiar with records

Hickey should know a thing or two about records. He rowed with the 1982 Outer Cove crew that reclaimed the course record from Smith Stockley with a time of 9:03.48.

In 1991, he was a member of the first crew Smith Stockley-Outer Cove to officially go under nine minutes with a time of 8:59.42.

However, Hickey, whose son is stroking the crew, did admit that if conditions on Aug. 1 are as good as they were last Wednesday, the Crosbie Industrial Services crew will be disappointed if it doesnt at least get within a couple seconds of the record set in 1997.

Absolutely, theres no other way to answer that question. If youve done it already, you certainly would expect to be in that area again, he said.

Added pressure

In addition to vying for a new Regatta record, Hickey said his team is also dealing with the added pressure that comes with being defending champs.

Instead of flying under the radar and enjoying the obscurity of an underdog, Crosbie Industrial Services will instead have to get used to being the team all others are gunning for.

It is different because it puts some added pressure on you. Id be lying if I didnt admit to that, said Hickey. People expect you to defend your title and youre the team to beat.

Organizations: Crosbie Industrial Services

Geographic location: Quidi Vidi Lake

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