The 139th Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, held annually on the old Martindale Pond in St. Catharines, was golden for two South Niagara Rowing Club (SNRC) crews last week.
Joe Coughler and Preston Darling won the Under 23 Men’s Lightweight Pair, and also the Senior Men’s Lightweight Pair, while Masters scullers Kevin Fuller and Shane McReynolds took home the gold in the Men’s E Double.
Darling, from Fenwick, will row at Harvard University in September, following in the footsteps of his older brother Fraser. Both are E. L. Crossley grads. Coughler is studying commercial aviation management at Western University.
SNRC Head Coach Grant Boyd took Darling and Coughler, and five other young men, under his wing in preparation for Henley, where they made the final in the Senior Men’s Eight, placed second in the Men’s Senior Lightweight Four, and had a pair of gold medal pair performances.
The Canadian Henley attracts entries from around the world, with Niagara-based clubs very active in the competition. Unlike other regattas that award medals to the top three finishers, Henley only awards a gold medal. Masters competitors are grouped in age brackets 21 years and older, and race over a 1000 metre distance, rather than the 2000 metres which is the standard Henley distance.
The St. Catharines Rowing Club, which had 87 crews competing, earned 10 golds over the week of racing to lead local clubs in the medal count. South Niagara had 36 crews entered in the regatta, while Notre Dame of Welland had 30, Niagara Falls Rowing Club 18, Ridley College 21, Ridley Grad 17, Niagara Rowing School three, and Brock University one entry.