Canada will have a men’s four in the Olympics next year, after the Canadian crew at the world rowing championships this week advanced to the final Thursday.
Will Crothers, of Kingston, Tim Schrijver, Kai Langerfeld and Conlin McCabe overcame a mishap in the final 500 metres of their semifinal race to finish third and advance to Saturday’s final.
With that, comes a berth in the 2016 Olympic rowing regatta in Rio de Janeiro.
In Thursday’s race, the Canadian and Italian crews were even, having led the field together for most of the way. Just as the Crothers et al appeared poised to make their move, they caught a crab—a bad stroke—and suddenly they were in trouble.
“We had a good plan and we were executing it perfectly,” said Crothers, who was in the bow seat. “When we caught the bad stroke, I stayed calm and made some calls to get us back together quickly.
“Schrijver did a great job of recovering his oar quickly.”
Canada crossed the line in 5 minutes 54.03 seconds, 3.1 seconds behind the winning Italians. Great Britain was second and all three crews advanced to Saturday’s final.
The crew from the Netherlands won the other semifinal, in 5:54.25. Canada’s time was fourth overall.
The Canadian men’s quadruple sculls crew of Matthew Buie, Julien Bahain, Will Dean and Kingston’s Rob Gibson failed to make its final, but they still have a chance to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
The six crews that made the final have all qualified; the top two teams in the B final—where Canada will race Saturday—will also get tickets to Brazil.
Canada’s time, 5:49.99, was ninth overall among the 12 semifinalists.
The Canadians were in contention for a top-three finish in the slower of the two semifinals, but faded in the final few strokes to finish fifth in one of the closest events of the regatta—just 72 one-hundredths of a second separated the second-place Estonians and fifth-place Canada, which missed finishing third by slightly more than half a second.
“Our race was pretty good and went as planned,” Buie said. “We rowed well in rough water and minimized the bad strokes. It was just a tough field.”
Germany won the race.
Friday, Canada, with Kingston’s Nicolas Pratt in the boat, will contest a semifinal in the men’s lightweight four.