After a night of torrential downpour, rowers experienced good conditions on Saturday morning as the Nassau Rowing Club (NRC) and the Windsor Rowing Club faced each other at the Lake Cunningham Classic on Lake Cunningham.
In the five-race regatta, rowers competed on a 1,500 meters (m) course. It was the first time that both clubs went head-to-head, showcasing their best athletes.
Head Coach of NRC and Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalist Andrea Proske said she liked what she saw on the water form the rowers.
“I saw a lot of great intensity. A lot of these kids do not get the opportunity to do any races because we are living on a small island. To have them show up and race their hearts out has been exciting. Both Rob (Gibson) and I are from Canada and we are Olympians, so we are bringing our high performance mentality to The Bahamas and they have risen to the occasion,” Proske said.
Head Coach of Windsor Rowing, Olympic medalist Rob Gibson said that he and Proske decided to give the local rowers an opportunity to compete on the waters at home.
“I saw a lot of sportsmanlike conduct and a lot of tight racing,” Gibson said. “There was a lot of desire to win. Rowing is a very demanding sport where athletes spend hours of physical training on land and lake. It is not easy. They have been working hard all year and this was their first race on the water. This was a great step for the kids to race in front of their family and friends.”
Picking up the first win of the day at 8 a.m. was Isaiah Ellis from Windsor in the junior men’s single sculls. He clocked 6:39 to win that race. Finishing second was NRC’s Kenneth Hart who crossed the finish line in 7:02.
“It was a long race,” 14-year-old Ellis said. “I stayed with long strokes and made sure my blades were cleaning the water and I finished strong. I am happy with my progress.”
NRC’s Jessie and Poppy Proffitt, sisters, were brilliant in the junior women’s double sculls, building up a sizable lead on their competitors, and cruising to the finish. The sisters clocked 6:43 to win that race. Their closest competitor to them were Winsdor’s Anjaleah Knowles and Bianca Johnson, who clocked 8:07.
“It was a pretty good race. We went into the race very optimistic and I think that is what helped us. We have been working hard toward it. We had some very good coaches helping us over the past week. It was a great opportunity,” Jessie Proffitt said.
Poppy Proffitt said, “I felt it was quite stressful but I liked it because it was fun that both teams from NRC and Windsor came together. It feels that we are actually combining and becoming a true community. We were enthusiastic in our boats.”
Windsor crossed the finish line first in the quadruple sculls against NRC’s men. The Windsor team of Matthias Simms, Sam McCullen, Harry Winchester and Jake Young clocked 6:12. Ethan Mui coxed the team. The NRC team was represented by Kameron Taylor, Ellery Cartwright, Jamal Hanna and Harper Romer and they crossed the finish line in 6:27. The team was coxed was Tasneem Karabas.
It was Windsor’s Crachante Laing coming up big to win the junior women’s single sculls in a time of 7:09. Placing second was NRC’s Breanna Gayle, who crossed the finish line in 7:27. Gayle’s teammate Leah Bethel was third with a time of 7:39.
Laing uses the ergometers at her school, so she ended up breaking the course up in three parts.
“I’m barely on the water, so I do not get as much practice as I’d like to. At first, I said the course is long, so I broke it down into three 500m races. I was talking to myself when I crossed the first 500m, then the second one until I crossed the finish line. I just translated what I do off the water to on the water,” Laing said.
Winning the final race of the day was NRC’s Harrison Schindel and Will Watson in the junior boys double sculls. They finished the race in 6:05. Finishing second was Windsor’s Carl Van Gemerden and Sandor Bianchi, who rowed 6:30.
Both coaches are hoping to see the event on the calendar every year. They are also hoping to have some international opportunities this summer.