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For Outer Cove, winning's the thing


Another Regatta, another day at the Quidi Vidi office and, yup, another championship for a pair of Outer Cove oarsmen building resumes already worthy for Hall of Fame consideration.Heady statement, indeed, but Brent Hickey and James Cadigan made it Royal St. John's Regatta titles Nos. five and eight, respectively, Wednesday as the Outer Cove six raced against the clock en route to a victory at the 198th derby last evening.

Outer Cove celebrated their 2016 Royal St. John’s Regatta title after rowing 9:09.68 in the men’s championship race. Celebrating with the Molson Gerry Angel Memorial Trophy are (from left) cox Mark Hayward, Craig Whittle, Brent Payne, Mark Perry, James Cadigan, Colin Stapleton, Daniel Cadigan and Brent Hickey.

Of course, winning to this crowd isn't something new. Colin Stapleton, the grizzled veteran of the bunch at 37, has five championships, Daniel Cadigan has three and now Brent Payne and Mark Perry each have a pair.

The crew's coxswain, Mark Hayward, also has a bunch of titles.

Related story:

M5 had reason to celebrate

But a real, good sidebar to this feel-good story from Wednesday - in addition to the championship, Outer Cove blazed to the fifth-fastest time ever recorded, with an 8:58.20 showing in the men's amateur race - is that of Hickey, the son of a Regatta icon who's well on his way to making his own bones 'on the pond.'

All he seems to do, after all, is win when he rows Quidi Vidi, which is intermittently.

The last time Hickey, who just turned 30, competed was in 2011,when he stroked Rogers Bussey to victory in the final with a time of 9:10.83.

Prior to that, it was 2009, and East Coast Maintenance Services, with a 9:09.72 showing.

And then it was 2007, with the super crew, Crosbie Industrial Services, the best to row Quidi Vidi. The numbers prove it: Crosbie broke Butternut's course record with an 8:54.06 clocking in the first race, and then lowered it some more in the final with a blistering time of 8:51.32, a record which still stands.

Hickey also rowed in 2006 and, you guessed it, won with Crosbie, which went under nine in the amateur race with an 8:59.02.

James Cadigan, all of 28, was in the boat for each title as well.

For the past four years, Hickey's work commitments offshore and travelling the globe as a petroleum engineering technologist have kept him away from the Regatta on a regular basis. But when time permits, there's nowhere Hickey would rather be than skittering up and down Quidi Vidi Lake in a fixed-seat shell.

"Some of my earliest memories are in 1991 when Dad rowed for Smith Stockley-Outer Cove," he recalls. "I was pretty young at the time, but I remember it.

"That, and just growing up around the pond. I knew rowing was going to be part of my life."

Hickey's certainly learned from one of the best. His father, Bert, is an Outer Cove rowing legend, part of the 1982 crew that took the course record back from Smith Stockley, and the Smith Stockey-Outer Cove supercrew which melded the two rivals into an unlikely crew in the early 90s.

"Having Bert as my father, I was kind of born into it, know what I mean?" he smiled.

Like most kids - the Cadigan boys are very good hockey players - Hickey grew up playing hockey, but quickly found out rowing was his No. 1 sport.

His first year on the pond came as a 13-year-old.

"I think I was as young as you could be at the time," he said.

With five titles, the course record and four times under nine minutes, there's an argument to be made Hickey is already one of the top stroke oars to row Quidi Vidi, flirting with the likes of Gerry Lewis, Randy Ring, Campbell Feehan and Jim Hibbs.

"He's right up there," said Stapleton. "I've been lucky enough to be around some great strokes - guys like Patrick Barrington and Paul Hussey - and this guy is there.

"He sets the pace and we follow him. We have a lot of faith and trust in his stroke."

Of course, neither Hickey nor Cadigan nor anyone else, for that matter, can do it alone. Outer Cove, Hickey says, knows what it takes to win.

As a crew, they do the work, and they get the job done.

But it's no coincidence some athletes more than others just seem to get it done ... a lot.

"I think it's the love of the sport, and the dedication, and the work," Stapleton said. "You look at Brent or James or anyone in this boat. It doesn't come by accident.

"You make sacrifices, which means putting the sport ahead of a lot of things. Thankfully, we have a lot of support from our families."

Like M5, Outer Cove is gearing up for 2018, and the Regatta's 200th anniversary. It's a plan that appears to be right on track.

 

Outer Cove blazed to the fifth-fastest time ever recorded, with an 8:58.20

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