David Bain ‘19 founded the St. Lawrence Canoe Club just a few weeks ago. The club has already competed in its first race this past Saturday, September 23 against Hamilton College. The four club members who competed on Saturday were David Bain, Will Merchant, Nick Filannino, and Kiara De La Rosa.
The race began with all the boats at the starting line, with competing boats continuing to be within close range of one another until about half a mile into the race when St. Lawrence’s boat pulled ahead. The race was 10 grueling miles and took about an hour and a half. St. Lawrence was able to maintain its lead and beat Hamilton by about 20 seconds. Bain commented that SLU would have been likely to beat Paul Smith as well if they had competed, because Hamilton had triumphed over them in a past race. After the race, SLU received t-shirts, hamburgers, wooden plaques, and a trophy that hopefully will be displayed soon in the athletic center.
Merchant recollected that his favorite moment on Saturday, “was coming about a quarter mile from the finish line when everyone was really starting to feel the distance we had covered, but suddenly we got a second wind and pushed right through the end.” He added that, “looking back it was a great moment.” Merchant told reporters that he joined the club as, “a way to get out and have a good time with some good people”.
Bain founded the team after participating in a 90-mile canoe race at the beginning of September. He happened to know Paul Smith College’s Canoe Team’s coach, and his good experience with the Paul Smith coach made him want to continue canoeing. At this race, Bain met Short for the first time and realized that there are other students at SLU interested in canoeing, giving him the opportunity to form a canoe club. Fortunately, Bain is also a javelin thrower for the SLU track team, which allowed him to connect with the uncle of his track coach, John Newman, at the race. Bain found out that Newman’s uncle and father make canoes and paddles, and Newman’s uncle generously lets the club practice in his canoes and use his paddles. The St. Lawrence community really came together to support Bain by helping him attain the necessary resources to start up the club.
The club is open to any interested potential members. No experience is required, in fact, Bain just began his canoeing career last spring, and Merchant competed for his first time this year at the race this past Saturday. When referencing the new canoe club, Bain suggested that, “if people find that it’s interesting or unique, or don’t even know about it, and want to try it, that’s what I’m looking to get people to do.” Short added that, “David, Nick, Kiara, and Will came together with very little canoe racing experience and showed what Laurentian drive and determination can accomplish.” Their drive and determination proved why starting a canoe club was a great idea. Bain hopes to compete in another race sometime before Thanksgiving and pointed out that canoeing continues as long as the water is free of ice.