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BC Sports names Victoria university rower as Female Coach of the Year

Coach of the UVic women’s rowing team wins Female Coach of the Year award from BC Sports
Jane Gumley won Female Coach of the Year from BC Sports. (Courtesy of UVic)

The University of Victoria women’s rowing team excelled in their last season, leading Jane Gumley to take a bow after being named Female Coach of the Year by BC Sports.

The head coach described receiving the award as surreal and could hardly process the feeling.

“I honestly was shocked, so I had to read the screen a couple of times to see if my name was actually up there and if they announced it.”

However, at the beginning of their season her team was uncertain how successful they would be as they had several peaks and valleys.

In August, the team excelled at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta in Ontario, specifically in the under-23 pairs and senior eight races. After the victories out east, Gumley and her team felt on top of their game moving into the fall season especially competing in the senior eight.

Except that wave of confidence only lasted so long because a few senior rowers ended up injured during the fall season and had to sit on the sidelines. The team brought up three new athletes, who had only been rowing for a year, to join and train with the team.

Although the experience was nerve-racking, Gumley said the fresh players made for an exciting fall season.

The coach spent hours with team captains especially the senior eight to discuss how they can take an uplifting approach to encourage the team with what progress has been made versus focusing on the losses, which Gumley said can hurt the players and team.

“A lot of the focus around that was culture and positive leadership. When you’re a new athlete coming up, especially with rowing there are a lot of things that can change or a lot of different things that can affect the way the boat moves.”

The team’s fall season all came down to the final race at the Canadian University Rowing Championships. Although the rowers could hear their hearts pounding through their t-shirts, encouragement motivated and carried the senior eight to win.

“That was the big focus for the eight, at least, which ended up working quite well because they ended up winning the eight which was a big shock,” explained Gumley.

The coach said every UVic boat at the regatta performed well due to having a mindset early on that best supported not the individual rower, but the whole boat.

Several UVic boats scored high points and together the team was able to bring home the banner.

“I was so proud of how everybody rallied around each other and supported each other and it was just especially the weeks leading up to the competition,” said the coach.

Last season was Gumley’s second with the women’s team as head coach. Before that, she was an interim head coach of the team and led the men’s UVic rowing team as coxswain to three Brown Cup wins.

Gumley is honoured to receive the BC Sports award, but she is also just happy to have her hard work noticed.

“Winning is cool for sure, but I think just knowing that people recognize that I am putting in a lot of work. It was just nice to see that other people believe in me as well.”

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