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Canadian rowers out of medals at world championships

Better now than next year at Rio. Incentive can be a powerful thing.

 

Better now than next year at Rio.

Incentive can be a powerful thing. The Canadian women’s lightweight double, comprised of Victoria rowers Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee, and the Elk Lake-based Canadian men’s four will certainly have it after just missing the podium Saturday with fourth-place finishes in their finals at the 2015 world rowing championships in France.The worlds also double as the qualifier for the 2016 Summer Olympics and both boats punched their tickets to Rio earlier in the week.

Jennerich and Obee placed behind the Commonwealth medal sweep by New Zealand, Britain and South Africa on Saturday. But the main task was accomplished.

“We made sure the boat qualified for the Olympics. We are a quality crew and I know we can win in Rio,” Jennerich said.

Jennerich, a product of the Claremont school program, and Obee, from Stelly’s, were silver medallists at the 2014 world championships and will surely be in the pre-Games medal prognostications for Rio.

“We laid the foundation for Rio. That’s the only medal we want to win,” Obee said.

“We secured a spot for Rio and that was job No.1,” added doubles partner Jennerich, also by phone from Lac d’Aiguebelette.

“Coming out of Lucerne [a shocking 14th place finish at the last World Cup series race] that was a pretty tough job. But we always knew Lucerne was a blip. We know our best can be the best [in the world]. The one thing you need to be Olympic champion is consistency and we hope to get that over the next year. It’s all about performing our ultimate race in Rio.”

The Canadian men’s four of Kai Langerfeld of Parksville, Tim Schrijver and 2012 London Olympics silver-medallists Conlin McCabe and Will Crothers will look for that one extra gear over the winter on Elk Lake that can take them to the podium at Rio.

Langerfeld, out of Ballenas Secondary, has qualified himself as a second-generation Olympian and joins dad York Langerfeld, who rowed in the 1976 Montreal Summer Games. But the week was bittersweet, as Kai Langerfeld described missing the world championship podium by one spot as frustrating: “This wasn’t our best race. [But] we have to remember that the goal is Rio and that remains our focus and we are looking forward to finding those extra seconds in the next 12 months.”

It’s all relative, as a couple of other Canadian boats can attest. At least the men’s four and women’s lightweight double are assured of going to Rio.

Martin Barakso of Nanaimo and Michael Evans of Victoria experienced the most wrenching of results Saturday in the men’s pair B final, missing Olympic qualification by one agonizing spot.

It was much the same for the Elk Lake-based Canadian men’s quad crew of Matt Buie, Julien Bahain, Will Dean and Rob Gibson. Needing a top-two placing in the B final to finish overall top-eight and qualify for Rio, the Canadian crew was fifth in the race to place 11th overall.

The result hit Gibson the hardest. A member of the Elk Lake-based silver-medallist Canadian eight at London 2012, he knows what it feels like to reach the Olympic podium.

“I am sort of stunned right now,” Gibson said in a statement.

“I know we have what it takes to win a medal in Rio. We have to book our tickets to the Games at the qualifier next year.”

A limited number of Olympic qualifying spots remain through a last-chance regatta to take place next year.

The highly touted Canadian women’s eight, silver medallist in the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 worlds, races in its final today.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com