Sunday, May 27, 2018. The gritty P’fish Women raced at the Outer Harbour Women’s Race outside Toronto. team member Delaine documented this experience. In her words:
“The first race of the morning was the 500 meter race and our time would decide in which Division we would compete for the rest of the day. We finished 11th overall placing us in Division B, which meant that we no longer had to compete against the fastest 8 teams, the Division A teams.
The next race of the day was the 200 meter knockout race. The Paddlefish had never competed in a race like this before, where four boats race 200 meters, then the fastest three immediately paddle back to the start and race again, then another boat gets eliminated and finally it’s just two boats in a final 200 meter race to the finish.
Just as we were marshaling, the announcers asked for qualified steerspersons for the race. We might have gotten anyone, but as luck would have it, we ended up with cool and competent Karen from the Outer Harbour Women’s Team. And we paddled those 200 meters, but it looked, from our vantage point, like the other three boats all beat us and we were going back to the dock. Then they announced the boats that were to return immediately to the start, and they called BOAT 4! That was us!
We paddled back to the start line and we raced again. And again…we thought we lost. But, again, BOAT 4 was to return to the start! This was the final knockout race, the Ryerson University Women versus the Pittsburgh Paddlefish Women. It was a competition of youth versus experience. And we left it all on the water! Final time at the finish, 57.49 seconds Pittsburgh Paddlefish versus 58.07 seconds Ryerson University…. We beat them by .18 seconds!
Now that we had finished first in our Division in the 200 meter race, some of us started calculating points, to figure out our chance of getting a medal as we headed into our 2000 meter race. We calculated that based on our totals as compared to other teams, we had an excellent chance.
For the 2000 meter race we requested the same steersperson. She had us practice turns while leaning way out on the left side. We trusted her and leaned out and the turns were great! In the race, everyone really gave it their all; I know I did! At one point, coming into the last turn, she yelled at the boat in front of us to move out of our way but they refused. We just kept powering through and made the turn and paddled to the finish like pros. It was exhausting but exhilarating at the same time. And when the race was over, we found out that our team got the second fastest 2000 meter time in our Division. That meant we were getting second place overall in Division B, a silver medal!
So when they announced the Division B winners, those of us who had been calculating points were shocked when we heard them announcing Pittsburgh Paddlefish as THIRD PLACE and Ryerson University as SECOND PLACE. That was wrong! Joni was the one who rightly protested and insisted that this error be corrected so that we get the medals that we earned! The points were recalculated by the officials, and it was discovered that there was indeed a mistake. However, Ryerson University had already gone with the silver medals before things were sorted out. So, we left the venue knowing that we had won second place, but with no medals in hand.
By the time I got back to my hotel, I was completely drained. I was excited to finally have a Paddlefish medal, um sort of, except I didn’t actually have that medal…
We still had a team dinner to go to that night, but really a shower and nap seemed more appealing. I went anyway, and guess what I got at dinner?
A SILVER MEDAL.
The race organizers showed up at the restaurant with our silver medals. They had contacted our team via Facebook and hand delivered them to us. Silver medal finally in hand, all my fatigue suddenly disappeared….”