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Quality Inn - Sudbury
Paul Lefebvre - MP for Sudbury
Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019
Highlights of high-school rowing regatta
by Randy Pascal

"I'm yelling at a group of people that I just met, who would normally be my competition in reality," exclaimed coxswain Olivia Greco Saturday morning on the docks of the Sudbury Canoe Club.

There is something wonderfully unique about the world of high-school rowing.

A 17 year-old grade eleven student at St Charles College, Greco was in "command" of the St Benedict Bears "A" eights boat, the crew that would emerge as category champions.

"My school didn't have enough people to have our own boat, but we had two coxes," noted Greco. "St Ben's didn't have any coxswains. Since we have the same coach anyways, this made sense."

"It's been a great experience, great fun," Greco continued. "They are great people." Recruited into rowing and serving as a coxswain last May, on the basis of being loud, (that is what her friends would tell her), Greco immersed herself into the role.

"The coxswain is the person who steers the boat, who commands what everyone does in the boat," she said. "Everyone has to listen to me. I grew up around boats, so I know a lot of the boat terminology."

"I do take the opportunity every now and then to row, but I really enjoy sitting there and yelling," added Greco with a smile. On the receiving end was Adam Tomini, an 18 year-old soon-to-be graduate of St Benedict Catholic Secondary School, and one of a solid core of returning rowers on the championship team.

"I had been doing outdoor education, lots of canoeing and stuff, and our school decided to start with the rowing last year," said Tomini. "I tried to get a few people to join in to fill a boat. We had a rookie team (last year), but came in second place."

With most of the high school athletes attempting their luck at rowing with no previous experience in the sport, it can be an adventure for many out on the water. "I had no idea initially what I was doing," said Tomini.

"The amount of co-ordination that you need is surprising. The entire boat needs to be in one state of mind, getting the oars in the water together, or else it's one complete gong-show."

With many of the spring athletes busy with soccer and track & field, the rowing crew finds other sources to field a team. "I find that most of the people who do rowing do a lot of less mainstream sports - skiers, swimmers, athletes like that," said Tomini.

As he prepares to begin post-secondary studies in Geology at Laurentian University in the fall, the well-spoken young man is fully aware of the varsity program that has produced national team member Carling Zeeman and FISU rower Emily Jago.

"I would very much like to keep rowing in the future with them (Voyageurs rowing team), but I'm not sure I am quite at that skill level yet," said Tomini. "I'm thinking of joining the rowing club this summer, to step up my game a bit."

The St Benedict Bears "A" and "B" teams were the only boats in the field of "eights", though three teams competing for bragging rights in the "fours".

1st place - Lo-Ellen Park Knights (third straight SDSSAA title)
2nd place - Marymount Regals/St Charles Cardinals combined team
3rd place - Lockerby Vikings/Lo-Ellen Park Knights combined team

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