Rowing Club Expands Program

Kennebecasis Oarsmen Hope To Be On The Water Sunday

Click here to see full size. A Lesson in Rowing - Dr. Humphrey Bonnycastle, centre, president of the Kennebecasis Rowing Club leafs through a booklet on rowing history with Keith Ratcliffe, right, and Lorne Kilpatrick, both coaches at the club. The members of the club held a press conference at the Renforth Community Centre earlier Wednesday, a prelude to National Rowing Week in Canada.

The Kennebecasis Rowing Club plans to expand its programs to elementary and junior high school-aged youngsters once the Kennebecasis River is free of ice and debris.

Wayne McConnell, a gold-medal winner at the Canadian Henley Regatta at St. Catharines, Ont. last year in straight fours’ competition will hold instructional classes for boys while girls’ coaches have yet to be found.

Both boys' and girls' crews plan to hit the water as soon as possible and Lorne Kilpatrick, girls’ coach, says he hopes that will be Sunday morning. Boys' coach Keith Ratcliffe said earlier this week his crews are planning to attend a rowing clinic in Fredericton this weekend and hopes they'll be on the water sometime next week.

Crews have been training since the first week in January with weights and on the road and both coaches are confident the oarsmen and oarswomen will be in good form when the time comes to take equipment out of storage.

"When we get on the water, we’ll be going three nights a week for about an hour or more," said Ratcliffe. "The kids give a lot of their time to rowing. They enjoy it and the thought of competing at the national level is a good incentive. They also like the travelling part of it."

Brothers Dave and Mark Allan won gold medals at the national championships last year in pairs competition and repeated that feat at the Henley, where they also teamed with McConnell and Butch Gaunce for a gold medal in straight fours.

Ratcliffe said the Henley will be held a little later in the summer this year and the club may not be able to compete at an invitational meet in Buffalo, which it won last year.

The girls' crew of Margo Inches, Sally Hutchinson, Mary Ellen Guidry and Patti Keiver were eliminated in a heat last year by a boat length to the Mexican National crew.

"We’ve been pressing for a change in the girls’ competitions," Kilpatrick said, "because once they are eliminated in the heat, there isn’t anything to compete for. There are juniors competing against seniors and that’s not fair. The men’s crews dominate rowing but we’ve been trying to come up with better arrangements for girls."

Both boys’ and girls’ crews will compete in the Renforth Regatta this year for the host club.