By Bernd Franke
Regional Sports Editor
Another weekend on the water, another chance to prepare for the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association (CSSRA) national championships.
Crews from 48 clubs, including 20 from high schools in the region, competed in the two-day South Niagara Invitational that wrapped up Sunday at Welland International Flatwater Centre's south course.
Pacing the procession to the podium was the Don Rowing Club with 16 medals in all. Athletes from the Toronto club won a regatta-high nine gold medals along with four silver and three bronze.
Tied for second place in the overall standings, with 15 medals, were E.L. Crossley from Pelham and Branksome Hall from Toronto. Each earned seven medals, along with five silver and three bronze for Crossley and four silver and four bronze for Branksome Hall.
Four Niagara high schools rowed their way to three medals: A.N. Myer, gold, two silver; Sir Winston Churchill, two silver, bronze; Lakeshore Catholic and Notre Dame, each with three bronze medals.
Saint Francis, gold, silver; Saint Paul, gold, bronze; and Governor Simcoe, silver, bronze; won two medals apiece.
Denis Morris, gold; Blessed Trinity, silver; Grimsby, silver; Welland Centennial, silver; Eden, bronze; and Jean Vanier, bronze; each won a medal.
Also taking part in the competition but failing to post a top-three finish were Beamsville, Greater Fort Erie, Holy Cross, Ridley College, Saint Michael and Westlane.
Along with the Mother's Day Regatta, held the weekend before in St. Catharines, the South Niagara Invitational hosted by the South Niagara Rowing Club gives coaches a chance to experiment with different seat configurations heading into the CSSRA championships taking place May 31-June 1, also on the Royal Canadian Henley course in St. Catharines.