Muskoka To-DAILY

McGonigal sets world indoor rowing record at annual SRRC competition

GRAVENHURST — While hundreds of youth gathered on the sports field in frigid temperatures at the MuskokaWharf to kick off the Ontario Winter Games, across the street at the Dock on Bay a 70-year-old woman who would be an ispiration has set a world indoor rowing record.

Louise McGonigal and her team of supporters at the SRRC challenge Feb. 22. Back left, Meaghan White, Jeremy Rand, Rick Dalmazzi, Mike and Dianne Smith and Tina Jackson.

Louise McGonigal and her team of supporters at the SRRC challenge on Feb. 22. Back left, Meaghan White, Jeremy Rand, Rick Dalmazzi, Mike Smith, Diane Barr and Tina Jackson.

Louise McGonigal, of Elmvale, pulled 2,000 metres in 8 minutes, 10.6 seconds.

She broke the previous record for that 70-74 age group, set by an American woman, by almost a full second. His time was 8:11.5 and it stood since 2010.

McGonigal smashed her own personal record for the 2-kilometre distance, which she had set in January at 8 minutes 13 seconds at the Canadian Indoor Rowing Championships at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. She had also recently competed in Boston at the World Indoor Rowing Championships.

The record came at the recent Gravenhurst Winter Carnival, Feb. 22.

The Severn River Rowing Club – which has 50 members out in summer – has been hosting the annual competition in Gravenhurst since 2007, that year at the Marriott Hotel, then the past six years at the Dock on Bay.

The Marriott and long with the National Bank help sponsor the event.

And this year they moved to the Dock on Bay due to construction at the hotel.

SRRC organizer Mike Smith said he has already been in contact with Concept II about forwarding the electronic and verified results for the record.

They were among 30 rowers competing on half a dozen Concept II PM3 rowing machines, the competitive standard machine for world competitions and records.

— McGonigal, who turned 70 June 28, won the women’s masters category;

—    Jeremy Rand (SRRC) of Gravenhurst was the men’s over 27 men’s champion;

—     Lazlo Tasnadi (SRRC), of Gravenhurst, and Mikayla Arends, of Barrie were the high school champions;

—    and the Barrie Rowing Club won the team event.

McCongical’s partner Dave Watt, 75, competed in the shorter distance of 500 metres and finished with a respectable time of 1:37.5.

The Severn River Rowing Club trains at the GravenhurstHigh School and is also starting a rowing lessons program at the Gravenhurst YMCA — contact them for more information. They, too, have the sport standard Concept rowing machines.

For more information on the Sever River Rowing Club, email Mike and Dianne Smith at

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