Maple Bay Rowing Club head coach Andrew Rae looks on as his rowers line up on Quamichan Lake to start a race during Rowing Canada’s 2022 National Championships co-hosted by Rowing Canada and the Maple Bay Rowing Club. (Courtesy of Susan McDonald)

Maple Bay Rowing Club head coach Andrew Rae looks on as his rowers line up on Quamichan Lake to start a race during Rowing Canada’s 2022 National Championships co-hosted by Rowing Canada and the Maple Bay Rowing Club. (Courtesy of Susan McDonald)

250 rowers gather on Vancouver Island lake for national championship

Brigid Kennedy placed second in the lightweight women’s single event

More than 250 rowers took to the waters of Quamichan Lake last weekend for Rowing Canada’s 2022 National Championships co-hosted by Rowing Canada and the Maple Bay Rowing Club.

It was the first time the central North Cowichan lake — the future training centre of the Canadian national rowing team — was used for such an event.

“It’s one of the biggest regattas that’s hosted in the country,” MBRC president Susan McDonald said, adding that the event was bigger than MBRC’s annual spring regatta.

Nevertheless, McDonald said the regatta ran “seamlessly” thanks to an amazing group of volunteers.

“We were so pleased,” she said. “I think we had about 90 volunteers: people from our club, parents of the juniors, community members, all kinds of amazing people came to help.”

Volunteers from as far away as the Lower Mainland and even folks from other rowing clubs on the island pitched in as well.

“It was terrific,” McDonald said.

Rowers from 45 clubs across the nation raced in various singles and pairs events, and two new trophies named after RCA alumni were awarded for the first time to the national champions in the lightweight events.

Both Shawnigan Lake and Brentwood College schools as well as the MBRC all had rowers entered in the event.

MBRC’s Brigid Kennedy, 23, earned silver in the lightweight women’s singles race, coming in just behind Ontario’s Jill Moffatt for the Wendy Wiebe Trophy.

“She’s a new member to us and has been at university and has done a lot of her training away at university,” McDonald said.

Also competing for MBRC were eight junior members, all either U19 or U17.

“A couple of them have only been rowing just over a year but they had to qualify to get in,” McDonald said. “Although they didn’t medal, it was just so fantastic to see them in the fray. They held their own. It was an incredibly competitive regatta. We’re very proud to see them in there.”

Based on the event the future is bright for rowing in Cowichan now that Rowing Canada is around.

“We feel really positive about the presence of rowing Canada here,” McDonald noted. “We’ve been the only club in the area and we have been a small club but now we are definitely growing.”

McDonald explained that Rowing Canada has brought extra attention to the sport and to the fact that a solid venue exists here.

“It’s attracting coaches, it’s attracting athletes, and people are being drawn to it knowing that this is going to be a key location for the national training program,” she said.

For complete national championship results visit rowingcanada.org

cowichan valleyRowing

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