By Chris Teale (Courtesy photo)
T.C. Williams’ crew program continues to grow in stature, as its girls teams took home medals from a Canadian regatta to cap an already stellar season.
The Titans girls headed to St. Catharines, Ontario earlier this month for the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Championship Regatta. It is Canada’s equivalent of the national championship for high school rowing teams, and featured some of the fastest boats in the country as well as several groups from the United States.
T.C. came away with two gold medal finishes thanks to the first varsity eight and the varsity lightweight eight, while the freshman eight won silver. In addition, sculler Kyra McClary finished fourth in individual competition and just missed out on a medal by the smallest of margins.
The win for the varsity eight comes on the heels of the team’s second consecutive state title earlier this year at the Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association championships on the Occoquan Reservoir in Fairfax last month.
They won the gold medal in Canada with a time of 6:33.86, having also posted the fastest time in qualifying the day before. In the race, the Titans varsity eight beat Saratoga of New York, who recently was crowned as Scholastic Rowing Association of America national champions. The Titans’ first-place finish was just 3.8 seconds ahead of Saratoga, who took silver.
The varsity lightweight eight were similarly dominant in their winning time of 7:43.99, a full eight seconds ahead of silver medalists Branksome of Toronto. In the semifinals, the Titans boat finished a staggering 22 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. The win in Canada caps a highly successful year for the newly created boat, which can add the gold medal to bronze medal finishes in the SRAA Nationals and at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta, a state gold and several victories in regional competitions.
In the freshman eight final, T.C. was locked in a tight battle with Saratoga for the gold medal for the duration of the race, having already won their heat in the junior eight category. Unfortunately for the Titans freshmen, their rivals finished in first place by a margin of just seven seconds, with T.C. recording a finishing time of 7:29.06. The team also won silver at states earlier this year.
“I am really proud of the entire T.C. crew team this year,” said girls head coach Patrick Marquardt in a statement. “These two final gold medals show that T.C. boats are among the fastest in North America. The first varsity’s win against U.S. national champion Saratoga shows that it can beat the best. The lightweights took off this year and never stopped excelling. This final gold medal capped an outstanding season that included national and state medals for the boat.”
Individually, McClary performed consistently in the single sculls competition, even though it was her first regatta in the division this season. She finished first in her qualifying heat, then second in her semifinal before finishing fourth in the final. The senior also won gold as part of the varsity eight boat, capping a season in which she won the girls’ coaches award as well. She has committed to Smith College in Northampton, Mass. for next year.
Also in action were the girls senior four boat, who advanced to the semifinals, and the girls lightweight four, who reached the same round. Both had been rowing together as teams for just two weeks prior to the CSSRA competition.
The performance in Canada came hot on the heels of another strong showing in the VSRA state championship, highlighted by a girls varsity eight victory that saw the team finish less than three seconds ahead of second-place McLean. There were golds for the boys freshman eight and the boys varsity four as well at the Virginia Championship Regatta for Lower Boats.
In winning the gold, the boys freshman eight were presented with the Ted Phoenix trophy, which is awarded each year to the state’s fastest freshman boys boat. They finished in a time of 5:03.05 in the final, two seconds ahead of second place finishers St. Alban’s.
It has been another season of great success for the Titans crew, who have rowed since 1947 and train at the Dee Campbell Rowing Center along the Potomac waterfront. With so many young rowers coming through and already enjoying success, they are determined to maintain their momentum in the coming years.