Local rowers bring home gold from Royal Canadian Henley Regatta

Kingston Rowing Club’s Senior Lightweight Women’s Four won the Henley Helper’s 30th Anniversary Trophy. Photo via Kingston Rowing Club.

Rowers from the Kingston Rowing Club continue to place at the top in national competitions. Last week, they picked up nine top-four finishes, including three gold medals and three second place finishes at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta held on Martindale Pond in St. Catharine’s.

Founded in 1880, the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta brings together crews from Canada, the US and beyond, and is held over six days. Over the years, it has gained a reputation as one of the premier rowing competitions in North America attracting top-notch athletes from various clubs, universities, and national teams, showcasing their skills and competing for glory.

According to a release from the Kingston Rowing Club (KRC), on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023, the crew of Isabelle Ngo, Lauren Matai, Emily Pain, Brigitte Gaudert, Gillian Jansen, Alex Duggan, Emma Abicht, and Isidora Ferguson, with Coxswain Katie Bruggeling, won the People of Port Dalhousie Trophy in the Senior Lightweight Women’s Eight. The crew dominated from the start, winning in a time of 6:46.029 — almost 12 seconds ahead of second place Western University. Bruggeling doubled up in this event as both cox and coach.

The Senior Lightweight Women’s Eight won the People of Port Dalhousie Trophy. Photo via Kingston Rowing Club.

Less than two hours later that same day, Ngo, Jansen, Matai and Gaudert teamed up to win the Women’s U23 Lightweight Four in a time of 7:18.500, ahead of second place Hamilton Leander (7:24.710) and third place finisher Guelph Rowing Club (7:48.080) to claim the Tyler King memorial Trophy. According to the KRC, this win avenged a defeat at the hands of the Leander crew two weeks earlier at the Ontario Championships.

On Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, Duggan, Abicht, Ferguson and Pain teamed up to win the Senior Lightweight Women’s Four in a time of 6:55.530 ahead of second place Western University (7:00.040) and Ottawa (7:08.950) to win the Henley Helper’s 30th Anniversary Trophy. Unique to this crew is that each is a local high school grad – Duggan (Regiopolis Notre Dame – 2023); Abicht (KSS – 2023); Ferguson (KSS – 2022); Pain (KCVI – 2021).

KRC also reported a second-place finish by Sean Whitehall in the Men’s Senior 64 kg Single in a stroke-for-stroke battle with a sculler from Argentina who finished just 0.830 seconds behind to claim third. Ottawa Rowing Club won the race with a time of 7:33.900. Fourth at the 1,000 m mark, Whitehall outperformed the third- and fourth-place finishers with superior skill in challenging conditions, according to the release.

Also placing second was the U23 Lightweight Women’s Pair and Double. In the pair, Pain and Gaudert placed behind a crew from Hamilton Leander. In the double, Jansen and Matai placed second Behind the Oklahoma City High Performance Center which represented the US at the World U23 Championships in 2022. The local rowers led until the 1,200 meter mark with the more experienced Americans taking over to win, KRC shared.

According to the release, fourth-place finishers were Lauren Matai in the U23 Lightweight Woman’s Single; Kyle Nummi in the U23 Men’s Single; and Ngo and Jansen in the Senior Lightweight Women’s Double. Placing fifth was Ferguson and Abicht in the Senior Lightweight Women’s Pair.

“We are immensely proud of our athletes’ outstanding performance at the Canadian Henley Regatta. Their dedication, hard work, and exceptional teamwork have once again shown that they are true champions both on and off the water. As we celebrate their achievements this summer, we also look ahead to the upcoming fall racing season where many of these athletes will represent their universities or clubs. We’re excited for the fall and will carry this momentum forward,“ stated Performance Coach Katie Bruggeling.

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