Mustangs christen the future
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
Western Mustangs rowing coach Volker Nolte wondered out loud how many people in attendance at the university’s Old Oars Regatta on Saturday (Sept. 15) had won international medals after competing in the school’s national notoriety program.
With five-time Olympic medalist Lesley Thompson-Willie and four-time Summer Games hardware winner Marnie McBean making an appearance at the Fanshawe Lake meet, it could take awhile for the almost 20-year coach to figure out the answer.
Add former Olympians Jeff Lay and Liam Parsons to the mix, along with current Western rower Sarah Christensen, and Nolte might need a calculator — not to mention a tough coxed four group on his hands.
The Western program has been able to push forward to make sure the club keeps bringing in medals after an incident in February. The team was travelling to Georgia for training camp and the trailer carrying all nine of Western’s training boats went off road, resulting in total destruction of the vessels and almost the cancellation of the London rowing program, as well.
“We lost in a moment of seconds nine boats,” Nolte said, adding no one was injured in the incident, but the lost shells put the Mustangs rowing team down about $100,000. “All of our training boats were gone. We would have to cancel the 2012-2013 season.”
The season still started Saturday with the year’s first regatta with help from insurance money, Western’s rowing gala fundraiser and alumni stepping up to support — the biggest help from Heather Cartwright who contributed two boats to the cause.
The rowing rally exceeded expectations.
“We lost nine boats, we got back 11,” Nolte said.
To celebrate the continuation of the Western rowing program the Old Oars Regatta concluded with a boat christening, where each vessel was unveiled with a former Western rowers name painted on it and then christened with a bit of champagne.
Nine names were unveiled on the boats, but for Cartwright’s contribution to the team, her Hudson crafts were donned with Heart and Soul.
“This one’s heart, may it go fast. This one’s soul, may it go faster,” Cartwright said as she poured some Moet. “When I had an opportunity to help the program it was such an obvious thing to do because I know where it goes, I know what impact it has on the students.”
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