Monday, August 02, 2004

It's Henley Week at the Traynor household...

...and that means I'll be spending the rest of the week at the Henley Regatta in St. Catherines. It's going to be fun. My two daughters, Jaime and Kelly, are both entered in three events...the single, double and quad races. They're racing for Leander Boat Club -- just one of 122 rowing clubs from across North America (and as far away as New Zealand) entered in one of the largest rowing events in the world.

And they're racing together in the quad! Putting them both in that boat (which has four people, each with two oars, or sculls, as they're called by us rowing geeks!) was a last second change, so you won't find their name in that race, if you're looking at the daily schedules. You can find them at the Henley Regatta site.

SATURDAY UPDATE -- Well, the Henley is over for the year out house. There's still one day of racing left, but Jaime and Kelly are finished. Today was a really satisfying day, although that elusive Henley Gold stayed just out of reach. Jaime and Kelly, along with two others, had a great race...probably their strongest effort yet to place third in their final this morning. The girls were very excited about the race. Then, two hours later, Jaime rowed her single final. She blasted out of the blocks and posted her best 500 metres ever...but she wasn't able to keep up the pace and ended up in fourth against some excellent women, all of whom are a few years older than she is. It was an excellent performance and a fine end to the regatta for this year. For Heather and I, this week has been one of high eyes hurt from so many teary moments. But it was sure worth it. And we're already looking forward to next year...

FRIDAY UPDATE -- Today, the Traynor express finally hit a bit of a snag -- but only just. This was a big day for Kelly and Jaime. Kelly and her partner, Beth Harris, rowed their first heat in the Junior B Women's Double in the morning and qualified for the semis, which were in the afternoon. Unfortunately, they came up just short of qualifying for Sunday's final, although they finished a strong third in their race. Then, about two hours later, Kelly rowed her third race of the day in the final of the Junior B Women's Singles. It was a great performance, but Kelly's hope for her first gold medal came up a few strokes short. She finished second to a woman from Saskatoon who rowed the race of her life to win. Talk about excitement. Kelly seemed OK on the course, but her parents were cardiac cases in the grandstand -- but very, very proud.

Of course, the day wasn't over. Jaime and her partner, Jenn Barkins, had their Junior Womens Doubles final late in the day. Like Kelly, they also ran up against a high quality field and today wasn't their day to take home the gold.

Still, Leander's day wasn't over. Spencer Brewer and Jake Thomasen won Henley Gold in the Junior Men's Double. Their victory, and the strong showing by all the other scullers, is a credit to the great coaching they've received from John Tice. Our hats off to him and all the other volunteers at Leander who give our kids such a great experience.

But they're not quite finished yet. Jaime and Jen will join Kelly and another girl to row their final in the Senior B Womens' Quad on Saturday morning. And Jaime will finish off the regatta Saturday afternoon when she rows the Senior B Lightweight Womens Single. So we're not finished with the quest for the gold just yet...more tomorrow.

THURSDAY UPDATE -- Well, it didn't rain, but the wind was a big problem. Jaime, and her partner, Jen, did race early in their double and made it to the final by winning their semi. But not too long after that, Kelly's semi-final singles race was stopped just after the start because the course was too windy. So we waited for four hours while everything was delayed. But after lunch, the racing began again, and they kept pushing races down the course, finally wrapping up the day's events at about 8:30 pm. Fortunately, Kelly was still able to qualify for the final in the single event. So we finally made it home late and tired, but looking forward to Friday's excitement. And according to the weather, it will be on the cool side, but the wind will be blowing from the west, which is better for the rowers.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE -- The rain arrived today but with little wind and no thunderstorms, it was a good day for rowing. The only race we were involved in was Jaime's first heat in her single. The 2003 Gold Medal winner from last year was one of the boats in her race, which meant that realistically, the other five were competing for the remaining qualifying spot. For those of us watching from the grandstands, the race was a real nail-biter. But for Jaime, cool as anything, it was just another day on the water, as she powered to a convincing second-place finish and a trip straight to the final on Saturday. What a race!

TUESDAY UPDATE -- A very successful first day. We had three races and three second-places, good enough to qualify for the next stage in each of them. A threatening thunderstorm in the morning passed over without incident and it was a beautiful day for rowing. A great start to the week.

Jaime's races:

Event 02 -- Junior Women's Double:
Heat -- Tuesday @ 8:35
TUESDAY UPDATE -- Jaime and Jen placed second and qualified for the semi's
Semi -- Thursday @ 8:21
THURSDAY UPDATE -- Jaime and Jen won their semi with a very impressive performance. They out-paced all the other semis by over 10 seconds, and they'll race on Friday for Henley Gold from the favoured lane 3 position.
Final -- Fri @ 6:35 pm
FRIDAY UPDATE -- The quest for gold came up just short. The double comes in sixth in the final.

Event 17 -- Senior B. Quad (4X) Both Jaime and Kelly are in this boat
Heat -- Tues @ 4:31
TUESDAY UPDATE -- The quad placed second and qualified for the final on Saturday.
Final -- Sat @ 10:10
SATURDAY UPDATE -- They placed third in a great final. It was one of their strongest races of the year and couldn't have come at a better time. They looked great.

Event 30 -- Senior B Lightweight Single (1X)
Heat -- Wed @ 12:19
WEDNESDAY UPDATE -- Jaime's second-place showing sends her to the finals.
Final -- Sat @ 12:20
SATURDAY UPDATE -- Jaime finishes fourth in a very strong field. She was second after 500 metres, third at 1000 and put in a great finish to almost sneak back into third.

Kelly's races

Event 09 -- Jr. B Womens Single (1X)
Heat -- Wed @ 11:30
TUESDAY UPDATE -- Kelly finished second and qualified for the semis.
Semi -- Thur @ 9:17
THURSDAY UPDATE -- After the long wind delay (see above), Kelly placed third in her semi, and moved into the final, which is set for the end of the day on Friday.
Final -- Fri @ 5:25 pm
FRIDAY UPDATE -- Kelly rowed a strong race to finish second in her first Henley final. Just wait until next year, she vows.

Event 72 -- Jr. B. Womens Double (2X)
Heat -- Fri @ 8:56
Semi -- Fri @ 2:58
FRIDAY UPDATE -- Kelly and Beth qualified for the semis, but they came up just short of making it to the final, finishing a strong third in their race. Time to start working on next year's race.