Byrnes ’05, Canada row to first place at Henley Royal
|Former Bates rowing great Andrew Byrnes ’05 (in the back row, second from the right) stands with his Canada teammates after winning the gold medal at the first World Cup event of the 2007 season in Austria. (Zoe Hoskins photo)|
Bates graduate Andrew Byrnes ’05 and Canada’s top men’s eight took its second first place finish of the summer World Cup season last weekend at the Henley Royal Regatta in Oxfordshire, England.
According to Rowing Canada’s website, “The Canadian men’s eight, rowing as Shawnigan Lake & Victoria City rowing clubs, beat out the Australian Institute of Sport men’s eight, finishing the course in 6.24 to take the Grand Challenge Cup.”
Byrnes, a resident of Toronto, made Canada’s top boat for this summer’s World Cup circuit, and is rowing in the second seat. He and his teammates started the season off in early June at the first Rowing World Cup in Linz/Ottensheim, Austria, taking the gold medal in the men’s eight race. Until last weekend, the crew had since been training at its headquarters in Victoria, British Columbia.
The crew’s trip to Henley was a warmup for the Lucerne World Cup race next week in Switzerland (July 13 to 15), where they will face the top eights in the world.
The culmination of this, the all-important final World Cup season before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, is the World Championships, which will be held in Munich in August. Byrnes and Canada will vie for a spot in the top seven in Munich in order to compete in Beijing, although the field will include notable exceptions to last weekend’s field, such as Germany, Australia and the U.S.
“All of us on the team, of course, have the same goal: Olympic gold,” Byrnes said via e-mail last month. “We are optimistic for the future. There are great athletes training out here with great coaches.”