The M5 Group women’s rowing crew proved it’s the team to beat again in this year’s noteworthy Royal St. John’s Regatta with a very quick 5:05.72 showing in the Discovery Day Regatta Sunday at Quidi Vidi Lake.
The M5 rowers, who won last year’s championship race by a 14-second margin for their second straight title, are gunning for the special rings which are up for grabs in this 200th anniversary Regatta set for Aug. 1.
“We rowed 5:06 at the (2017) Discovery Day event when it was quite calm,” said M5 No. 1 oar Amanda Hancock, “and while it wasn’t horrible today, the pond certainly wasn’t as good as it was last year.
“So,” she said, “that shows we’re a little further ahead in our training.”
Joining Hancock in the M5 boat are stroke Katie Wadden, Alyssa Devereaux, Jane Brodie, Nancy Beaton and Amanda Ryan. The cox is Dean Hammond and Marie Clift is the spare.
The Smith Stockley Rowing Club, with cox John Barrington Sr., stroke Patrick Barrington, Gerard Barrington, Ian Power, Derek McDonald, Chris Quinton and Robert Lacey posted the fastest men’s time of the day with a 9:39.96 clocking.
The event was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was postponed to Sunday because of high winds.
“We rowed 5:06 at the (2017) Discovery Day event when it was quite calm and while it wasn’t horrible today, the pond certainly wasn’t as good as it was last year. So that shows we’re a little further ahead in our training.”
M5 No. 1 oar Amanda Hancock
Despite the rain Sunday, most of the program was completed, with the exception of six squirt races.
One hundred and 31 crews were slated to row in the Discovery Day event, the first of five regattas on the rowing calendar. Next up are the Time Trials July 7 to determine the race lineup for the St. John’s Regatta, followed by the 55th Placentia Regatta July 21, the 156th Harbour Grace Regatta July 28 and then the big one, the Royal St. John’s Regatta.
Outer Cove, the two-time defending men’s champs who rowed 8:59.70 in the last race of the day last summer, did not row Sunday. Outer Cove was slated to go Saturday, but two of its rowers were unavailable Sunday because of work commitments.
As for the M5 women, the 200th anniversary rings are definitely on their minds, but for the record, Hancock is taking the politically correct approach when asked about her team’s approach to 2018.
“We want to go out and row as fast as we can,” she said. “Winning is always the main goal, and we can’t lose sight of that fact.”
Of course, the Henley rings are still up for grabs, but they’re earmarked for the first female crew to go under 4:30, which won’t happen anytime soon, likely not at all.
“That’s not possible,” Hancock said. “Even the fastest men’s team wouldn’t do that.”
M5 stopped the clock in 5:00.71 in the championship race last year. In the ever-ending search to gain more speed, M5 has tweaked its training program a bit this year.
“We’ve been doing our ergometer training four times a week since January,” Hancock said. “Last year, in addition to the erg work, we ran twice a week.
“This year, we’ve been doing weight training with the erg training. It’s been a big help with our strength and explosive power.”
Rounding out the top five fastest times for the women Sunday were Cahill Group (5:19.30), Smith Stockley (5:23.30), Steers Insurance (5:33.83) and Pouch Cove Pharmacy (5:43.02).
For the men, after Smith Stockley it was NTV (9:56.30), Belfour (10:06.30), Team TBD (10:34.53) and Wade’s Excavating (10:44.62).