Brothers Patrick

Banner season for Colwood’s rowing brothers

Patrick and Liam Keane wearing the red and white for Canada

It’s like a revolving door at the Keane household in Colwood.

No sooner did older brother Patrick finish off at the World Under-23 Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, then younger sibling Liam heads off to train for the upcoming Junior World Championships in Rio de Janeiro.

The brothers, who rowed for St. Andrew’s secondary through the school year and climb in boats with the Victoria City Rowing Club in the spring and summer, are taking their game to the next level rowing for Canada.

Patrick, who won Rowing Canada’s 2014 junior male sculler of the year and will row for the University of Victoria Vikes next season, was part of the ‘B’ final-winning Canadian men’s lightweight quadruple sculls crew last week in Bulgaria. Canada was less than a second off making the A final.

Meanwhile Liam, who is only going into Grade 11 at St. Andrew’s, is training this week in Ontario until heading to Rio for the junior worlds, Aug. 4 to 9.

Coming off a successful winter-spring season where he made the podium at every regatta, from the Brentwood and Shawnigan regattas to high school nationals, he is excited to test his mettle at the world juniors.

“I’d love to win a medal, but being (just out of) Grade 10 I have to be realistic,” said Liam, part of a young eights crew with no Grade 12 rowers. “I’m going to try and be a sponge and learn a lot and bring that back for next year. I’m looking forward to learning how to race internationally, I want a really good result, but that isn’t that top priority. I’m looking forward to developing as athlete.”

This season was a question mark for the talented younger brother. Following a successful Royal Henley Regatta last summer, he had knee surgery in November to repair a bone spur, but got back in the boat in December.

“I said to myself, why not try out for the junior national team?” Liam said. “But throughout the year my scores got pretty good and I got faster.”

That speed helped him win the U-17 division at the indoor nationals to start this season. He followed with a second-place finish with the men’s U17 eights crew at the Brentwood Regatta and a win with Patrick in the quad event – older brother won gold in the U19 singles.

The Shawnigan Regatta saw Liam part of the winning eights and quad boats and the siblings took second in U19 men’s doubles, an event they had only practised once before, Liam said. “It was a lot of fun racing with him this season,” he added of rowing with Patrick.

After winning the U17 singles at the high school nationals on the same course as the Henley, Liam rowed time trials for junior nationals the day after and made his way into the top four, which surprised him.

“It was a super rush. I didn’t expect to do that well for Grade 10, going up against Grade 11s and 12s,” he said.

The goal is now a reality, and he’ll have his chance to reach for the next rung on the rowing ladder next week.

The busy summer continues after that, with the brothers, along with fellow West Shore rower Emma Gribbon of Langford, set to compete for B.C. at the Western Canada Summer Games in Fort MacMurray, Alta. Aug. 14 to 16.

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