The day started rainy and gray, but ended up with bright sun and two medals for Canada at the World Rowing Championships on Lake Karapiro in New Zealand.
The lightweight women's double of Tracy Cameron of Shubenacadie, NS, and Lindsay Jennerich of Victoria, BC, braved tough conditions, keeping their composure and winning gold today in this only Olympic boat class for lightweight women.
"The race was obviously a good one," said Jennerich, who is known as a fierce competitor. "We did an excellent job of handling the head/cross-wind conditions.... We just kept to the race plan - to stay long and keep breathing - and what I thought was really positive was that at 750 (metres) to go we had a lead and we were at a low enough rate, with a good enough rhythm, that I knew if someone was going to challenge us, that we would be able to answer."
Tracy Cameron, a bronze medalist in this event in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics (with partner Melanie Kok), was elated with today's win. "Gold is a way better position to be in," she said after the grueling 2km race.
"The lightweight women's double executed their race plan extraordinary well," said Peter Cookson, High Performance Director - Rowing Canada Aviron. This is Canada's first gold in this event since the 1990s.
The second medal for Canada was a bronze by Matt Jensen of Innerkip, Ont. and Rares Crisan of Mississauga Ont. France won in 7:18.92, the Kiwis finished second in 7:21.29 and Canada crossed the line in 7:23.29.
"The light men's pair are also both tough competitors and they showed their resolve in today's rough conditions," said Cookson.
"The water was really crappy at the start and rough through the middle," said Jensen, who has medaled in every A final he has raced throughout his international career. "But we put our heads down and pushed through - racing smartly and getting the job done."
Their coach Terry Paul explains: "The guys improved with every row here and showed tremendous composure through the middle of the course in difficult conditions. I am happy for Rares and Matt to come away with a medal for the program and I look forward to the challenge of the next two years."
In a heartbreaker for Canada, Cam Sylvester (Caledon, ON) and Doug Vandor (Dewittville, QC) were fourth in the lightweight men's double by only .03 off the bronze medal time. Great Britain won in 7:13.47, Italy was second in 7:15.88, New Zealand's Storm Uru and Peter Taylor crossed the line in 7:18.31, just edging out Canada (7:18.34); China and Portugal rounded out the field, but were off the pace.
Canada also had a decent showing in the women's quad B final. China came on strong in the second half of the race to win in 6:52.09, Canada was second (or eighth overall) in 6:54.80 overtaking the Swiss (6:55.46), and then Russia (7:01.09) and Romania (7:03.07) rounded out the field.
"This crew formed late the year, and their progression this week was phenomenal," said Jeff Powell, 2004 Olympian and coach of the quad. "I believe it's an indication of good things to come."
This crew is Jane Rumball (Fredericton, NB), Isolda Penney (Kingston, ON), Peggy DeVos (Kamloops, BC) and Emily Cameron (Summerside, PEI).
Earlier today, Kevin Light (Sidney, BC), Fraser Berkhout (St. Catharines, ON), Gabe Bergen (100 Mile House, BC), and Steve Van Knotsenburg (Beamsville, ON) finished sixth in their men's four B final in 6:26.28. Australia won this race for places seven to 12 in 6:17.54.
The gold today was Canada's second of the regatta - yesterday saw a win in the adaptive coxed four.
Canada has two more medal chances at the Worlds - tomorrow Canada has a boat in the A final of the women's pair, and Sunday in the A final of the women's eight.