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

Midway will open early at the 2019 Saanich Fair

This year the fair will pilot a “sneak peek” and the main stage will feature April Wine

Cross-examination begins for Oak Bay dad accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Camosun mechanical engineering project solve real-world problems

Showcase included projects that confound conventional wisdom, garner industry interest

Arenas, fitness centre ready for action after significant flood at Saanich recreation centre

Library branch, archives remain closed after Thursday night flood

Speculation tax forces sale of Oak Bay’s ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

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

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Most Read