Sliders favoured to take womens title

John Browne
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ODea Earle Law Offices crew proud to be from sliding-seat tradition

The O'Dea Earle women's team gets in some practice Monday evening on Quidi Vidi Lake. From right, the crew is: cox Ron Brennan, stroke Nicolle Hamlyn, Kate Parsons, Ashley Peach, Laura Rice, Katie Wadden and Amanda Hancock. Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Teleg

There is a certain kind of pride among the ODea Earle Law Offices womens crew that perhaps only sliding-seat rowers can understand.

The favourites for the 2007 Royal St. Johns Regatta are all from the sliding-seat tradition of the sport and that isnt a coincidence.

Weve waited a long time to get all sliding seaters in the same crew, said stroke Nicolle Hamlyn, following a 45-minute practice spin Monday evening.

Hamlyn said there has always been talk among the sliders about putting a womens crew together like the (sliding-seat) guys have been able to do.

Hamlyn and Amanda Hancock were committed to OZ FM the past four or five years and Ashley Peach rowed with last years OZ champions as well. Key OZ crew members Tracey Hogan and Siobhan Duff have called it quits and OZ doesnt have a crew this season which opened the door to put together a new crew from the sliding-seat ranks.

Hamlyn said coach Paul Power contacted the athletes over Christmas and everyone agreed it was a perfect fit. So, with Kate Parsons, Laura Rice and Katie Wadden on board, the crew was ready to go.

Ron Brennan was asked to steer the crew. The veteran coxswain brought home his first championship team last season while at the helm of OZ-FM.

Hamlyn said the crew members have a lot of self-esteem in being sliding-seaters, despite the fact they come from a sport that draws little attention in this province compared to the traditional fixed-seat teams.

They might be in fixed seats, but the crew has a sliding-seat mindset, according into Hamlyn.

There is a bit of a technique that we use and, in doing so, treat it the same as a sliding-seat boat as much as we can, she said.

Hamlyn, who rowed the No.2 oar with OZ last year, has had some experience at the stroke position with ODea Earle in the late 1990s and most recently in 2001 with Husky Oil. She has no qualms about taking on the stroke oar again and says anyone in the boat would do an excellent job in that position because of their technical background in sliding seats.

All of the new team members made a commitment to train all winter despite the fact three of them were not in the province. Hamlyn was going to school in Toronto, Peach was attending university in Michigan and Hancock was volunteering for three months in South Africa.

Christmas is late for deciding to put a crew together, conceded Hamlyn, but we all knew how each other would continue to train despite being in different places. That was common for OZFM as well, she pointed out.

At first, it was a little difficult for the girls who were not used to training together as a team, but we all trust each other and we knew we were going to do the work. We know how to train and we knew what it was going to take, Hamlyn said.

See THEY, page A12

Geographic location: Toronto, Michigan, South Africa

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