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‘Freak storm' pounds high school rowers

It looked like a perfect morning for competitive rowers. Hamilton Harbour in Ontario, Canada, resembled a sheet of glass.

At the dawn Thursday, some 100 student rowers and coaches from five Hamilton high schools and members of McMaster University rowing teams launched racing shells and coach boats from the venerable Leander Boat Club.

Shortly after 7 a.m. - with 30 boats on the water - the skies turned dark and the winds hit like a sledgehammer.

"In less than five minutes, it went from dead calm to gale force," said Andrew Sliasas, 28, a volunteer coach for Westdale Secondary School.

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