Canisius and St. Joe’s rowers team up to win Nationals


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Rising seniors Lars Finlayson and Peter Spira put their high school rivalry on pause as they worked together to win the U19 2 at the USRowing Summer National Championship.

“It felt unreal,” St. Joe’s rower Lars Finlayson said, “I couldn’t even believe it when we crossed the finish line and saw. It was so close so I wasn’t exactly sure if we had won or not, but once I realized we won it didn’t even feel real. It felt like I didn’t even win the National Championship, it just felt like another race.”

“It was a great feeling. We knew it would be a tight race, coming through the line it was tight, and it was great to win after all the hard work,” Canisius rower Peter Spira said.

While they might be bitter rivals on the water during the school year, this partnership proves that even St. Joe’s and Canisius can work together.

“The first day, we were still getting used to each other,” Spira said. “We’ve been competitors the whole season, but pretty quickly we became good partners in the boat together and were able to work together with both our talents and move fast.”

“It definitely was a little awkward at first, but we definitely started to bond, especially towards the championship. We really got to know each other,” Finlayson said. “A friendship was bonded between two rivals.”

Peter and Lars will be training together for the rest of the summer, but once they get back to school in the fall, they’re back to being competitors.

“We’ll go back to being very competitive, maybe a little more friendly but hope to beat him and maybe get to row with him again next summer,” Spira said.

“We’ve become so close. He’s definitely going to be sticking around as a friend from the rival school from now on,” Finlayson said. “He’s a great kid, someone I definitely want to row with in the future.”

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