Rowers win province's first medal at Games

Sports Saint John-area duo takes silver in men's pairs

A month ago, Quispamsis rower Keegan Drummond was asked what he thought about competing against the larger provinces at the 2009 Canada Games in Prince Edward Island.

                                         

Keegan Drummond, left, and Greg Theriault show off their medals for New Brunswick at the 2009 Canada Games. The rowers took silver Thursday in the men’s pairs competition.

The 19-year-old said the size of the province doesn't matter, it's the athletes that determine the outcome.

"Right now we're all on an even level, and when we get (to P.E.I.), it's going to be who digs the deepest to get across the line," Drummond said in the July interview.

He and teammate Greg Theriault of Saint John put words into action Thursday, capturing New Brunswick's first medal of the games in the men's pairs rowing competition. The duo crossed the line in the 1,200-metre course in a time of four minutes and 28.59 seconds to win the silver medal, leaving larger provinces such as Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba duelling for bronze. The British Columbia team took home the gold.

Drummond said despite having a lower population base, New Brunswick's rowing credentials are well known.

"We have a reputation for doing well in rowing," he said. "Being here, talking to other athletes, they know about us."

Reputations aside, Theriault said the duo felt the pressure of breaking the medal drought and competing on the national stage.

"It definitely added to the nerves," Theriault said. "But it worked out and it's the highlight of our rowing careers."

He said the feeling when they crossed the finish line was not one of unbridled joy.

"It was pretty painful," the Saint John native said.

"The last bit of the race was pretty hard, but it was great to come up with the silver, so I was happy too."

In addition to being provincial teammates, the duo both attend Brock University in St. Catharine's, Ont.

The medal was the first for any province East of Quebec.

Team NB will have nine more chances to reach the podium today in rowing and wrestling.

Drummond and Theriault will have the chance to add to their totals when they race in the men's four and men's eight plus coxswain races scheduled for 3:10 p.m. and 4:50 p.m., respectively.

The Quispamsis duo of Greg Tomney and Brian Peters will race in the men's double scull final at 2:50 p.m. while the women's four squad of Laura Corscadden of Fredericton, Erica Gagnon of Quispamsis, Jennifer Johnston of Saint John and Fredericton's Michelle Roy will go for gold at 4:10 p.m.

Team NB wrestlers Jean-François Godin of Beresford, Andrew Harris of Oromocto, Fredericton Junction's Andy Sandford, Pierre Philippe Ouellet of Beresford and Moncton's Corey Boudreau will compete for medals in various wrestling weight classes today.

- with files from Jon MacNeill

Published Friday August 21st, 2009 - Telegraph Journal