It’s hard for Anna Henley to express what missing the 2014 Royal St. John’s Regatta means to her.
She suffered a stress fracture in a rib while doing rowing sprints Canada Day on Quidi Vidi Lake and that has sidelined the 17-year-old, who had hoped to defend the female championship with her Max Athletics crew.
Henley is still helping out the team, which helps her. And she says not being able to row doesn’t really bother her, at least until the crew pushes off from the dock and she has to watch them row without her.
“I’m not a happy camper at that point,” said Henley.
“I really miss rowing because I really want to help my team. I watched them finish second (in Harbour Grace) and there was nothing I could do. It was really …yeah,” she said with a sigh, her voice tailing off.
Nevertheless, she’ll be pondside at Quidi Vidi today, although she admits with a chuckle, “It’s probably not going to be fun.”
Henley, who hasn’t had any serious injuries in her young athletic career before now, said her side began to hurt during the Canada Day workout. “But I kind of shrugged it off at the time,” she added.
“When we came in, it was still hurting so I didn’t go out with the crew for the evening workout.
“I took a couple of days off but it didn’t get any better.”
She said the injury didn’t show up on an X-ray, so she got a bone scan.
“I found that every time I pulled in on the oars, the torque ended up pulling (connecting tissue) off my rib cage,” she explained.
“Breathing was really uncomfortable for a couple of days.
Most of the pain is gone now and Henley has continued working out on a stationary bike while the injury heals and she waits to get back on the water.
Henley had been hoping to get back on the pond for the time trials early last month. When that didn’t happen, she felt it wouldn’t be fair to her crewmates or to the girl who would likely be replacing her.
Morgan Walsh, who was on the team last year, will fill in at Henley’s No. 2 oar Regatta Day.
Henley rowed with the Max Girls 1/Canada Games crew of young sliding-seaters that edged Roebothan McKay Marshall in the 2013 women’s final on Quidi Vidi Lake.
Under the name MAX Athletics, Henley’s crew, without her in the boat, won this year’s Placentia Regatta and was the runners-up at the Harbour Grace Regatta earlier this month.
Henley said the crew is hopeful of repeating as St. John’s Regatta champions.
“We’ve put in the work and we have an awesome coach (Ashley Peach) helping us and a tonne of support from our sponsor.
“We’ve prepared as hard as we could and we’re going in with high hopes.”
Max Athletics will go head-to-head with Roebothan McKay Marshall in the third race of today’s schedule. There was just 1.07 seconds difference in the finishing times of the two crews in last year’s final, one of the most dramatic in many years.
Henley is the granddaughter of the late Alec Henley, a Royal St. John’s Hall of Famer and a member of the Regatta Committee for half a century.
It’s hard to keep a Henley out of the Regatta, so Anna will cox ReMax in the Ricoh Female Memorial Female Race at 10:30 a.m.
Despite the setback, the entire rowing season may not be lost.
Henley is headed to McGill University in the fall and anticipates she will be able compete on the team’s rowing team for a couple of months.