School rowing growing, results from city championships

St. Andrew’s won six of the city championship’s 25 events, Claremont won seven

Claremont senior women’s quad of Sofia Donnecke

Rowing is a lifestlye Drew van Bourgondien has happily adopted.

But it’s not one the 15-year-old originally set out for when she started at St. Andrew’s Regional School.

“I didn’t know I was going to be a rower and I can easily say it’s become part of my life,” she said on Sunday afternoon. “Coach (Alia Zawacki) has taught us a lot and pushed us hard.”

Van Bourgondien watched the final races of the high school city rowing championships at Elk Lake from her team’s tent with many of her St. Andrew’s teammates. Theirs was one of the many collapse-able gazebos that leant a festival vibe to the regatta, and protected rowers and spectators from the rain.

Van Bourgondien won both events she raced in, the junior women’s quad and eight. Full results from Nov. 3 and Nov. 4.

“It was a great weekend for us,” said Zawacki, co-ordinator and head coach of the St. Andrew’s Rowing Academy. The former five-time national champ with the Vikes built the program herself, and will see many of the crews to nationals this spring.

“This is a very young program, our second year, so we’re particularly excited about winning so many junior (Grade 9 and 10) and Grade 8 events,” Zawacki said.

St. Andrew’s won six of the city championship’s 25 events – one behind overall leader Claremont, the region’s other high school rowing academy.

Rowing, it seems, is becoming more popular with the youth of Greater Victoria.

“From what I understand, the city rowing league started in the 1980s with about 40 rowers, and it’s up to 600 now,” said Kevin Light, first-year coach of the Claremont rowing academy.

The Olympic gold-medalist and Stelly’s grad heads Claremont’s academy, but it’s the academy’s assistant coach Erica Shaw who leads the after school program.

“There are strong after-school rowers as well as academy rowers,” Light said. “Quite a few (Claremont) rowers choose to train outside of school with the Victoria City Rowing Club rather than the academy,” Light said.

In addition to Claremont’s seven wins at the city championships, the Saanich school had five second-place finishes. In three events, the senior women’s quad and eight, and the junior men’s eight, Claremont finished first and second.

“We had a pretty good idea that they were a good overall crew, based on results from the earlier regattas,” Light said. “It was just a matter of preparing properly and working hard.”

More than anything, the key for young rowers is time in the water, Light said.

“I’d say it’s about 80 per cent fitness, 15 per cent technique and only about five per cent strategy.”

The most dynamic story on Sunday afternoon was the duel of St. Michaels University School’s Jake McCallum versus Parkland secondary’s Ethan Pennell in the senior men’s single scull.

Pennell, a Grade 12 student, won the event at the school rowing league’s Annual Regatta at Elk Lake on Oct. 21, with McCallum taking second. In the city final, however, it was McCallum getting the upper hand, but not without a little controversy.

“(Pennell) and I clashed oars. It was pretty early in the race, not even 250 metres in,” said McCallum, a former basketball player who is hoping to pursue rowing as a university athlete. “Once we came out of it I got a lead and just built on it.”

Pennell finished second.

This weekend Elk Lake is host to 200 of Canada’s top rowers, Nov. 9 to 11, for the 2012 RBC National Rowing Championships. Podium finishers will receive a share of a $20,000 purse.

 

Just Posted

Remember Spunky? Santa came out to Sidney to check on him

Red-tailed Hawk made headlines last year after being stolen, raised by eagles

MISSING: 59-year-old Pamela Fletcher

Fletcher was last seen in the area near Royal Jubilee Hospital on Dec. 10

Mainroad South Island reminds drivers to keep them in the loop

Call the hotlines for concerns on local provincial highways

IIO doesn’t recommend charges after motorcyclist death in Mill Bay

An off-duty VicPD officer was involved in the crash

Custom motorcycle and wood cutter stolen from Sooke motorcycle shop

2006 Husqvarna motorcycle and 2-ton log splitter taken from outbuilding

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Most Read