GLOUCESTER— The International Dory Races field has been filled.
After four crews earned their way to face the best rowers from the Lunenburg Nova Scotia area on June 23, the fifth and final crew earned a spot Monday at the men's elimination final at Niles Beach.
Following a back and forth, tightly contested three boat race it was New Jersey's Mick Cote and John Swift that edged Ray D'Amico and Joe Cominelli along with Erik Dombrowski and Glenn Harrington to take the win in the men's division. Cote and Swift will join Lenny Billante and Jay Prince (Master's Over 40 Division), Denise Desautels and Edie Wald-Smith (Women's Division), Randy Parisi and LJ Robertson (Junior Division) and Laurel and Jimmy Tarantino (Mixed Doubles Division) to face off against the Canadians on June 23.
Cote and Swift will be representing America against Canada for the second time in three years as the crew took home the International Dory Racing Men's Division title in 2010.
"It was back and forth the whole race, we weren't comfortable until the final stroke," Swift said. "It was a high caliber race between three high caliber crews."
The three crews, who all qualified for yesterday's race by winning their respective three boat heats during Saturday's elimination races, had plenty of obstacles to over come. Not only were there strong winds blowing across the course, there was an unoccupied 35 foot boat anchored in the middle of the race course. All three crews, however, agreed to race on the course and the second lane was taking out of the race with team's racing in lanes one, three and four.
The three crews were even when they each hit the turning flag, which sits 1/2 mile off of Niles Beach and after a slight error on the turn Cote and Swift found themselves in third place.
"We weren't down by much but you never want to be in third at any point in a close race," Cote said. "I messed up a bit on the turn, my starboard side oar popped out a bit and I missed a stroke, it hurt us a bit so we really needed to push on the way home.
The way home was where things got interesting. A strong wind was blowing all three crews to their right causing Cote and Swift to have to change course a bit just to stay within the race course. Each team had moments in the lead as the three rowed into Niles Beach.
"It was choppy and there were swells," Cote said. "If you hit a swell it would propel you into first, we would hit one, then Cominelli and D'Amico would hit one then (Dombrowski and Harrington) would hit one, it was going back and forth."
As the three teams charged to the finish line Dombrowski and Harrington had to overcome one more obstacle as they were heading straight for the boat anchored in the race course. The two had to maneuver around the boat costing them precious time.
By the time the crews hit the finish line it was Cote and Swift beating D'Amico and Cominelli by just two seconds with Dombrowski and Harrington coming in shortly after.