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

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

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read