250 rowers gather on Vancouver Island lake for national championship

More than 250 rowers descended on the waters of Lake Quamichan this past weekend to compete in the 2022 Canadian Rowing National Championships, co-hosted by the Canadian Rowing Association and the Maple Bay Rowing Club.

This is the first time the Canadian National Rowing Team’s future training center in the middle of North Lake Cowichan will be used for an event of its kind.

“This is one of the largest regattas ever held in the country,” said MBRC chairperson Susan McDonald, adding that the event is larger than MBRC’s annual spring regatta.

Still, MacDonald said the regatta ran “seamlessly” thanks to a terrific group of volunteers.

“We’re very happy,” she said. “I think we had about 90 volunteers: people from our club, parents of teens, members of the community, all kinds of amazing people who came to help.”

Volunteers from as far afield as the Lower Mainland and even people from other rowing clubs on the island got involved.

“It’s been great,” MacDonald said.

Rowers from 45 clubs across the country competed in a variety of singles and pairs competitions, and two new trophies named after RCA alumni were presented for the first time to the national champions in the lightweight division.

Shawnigan Lake and Brentwood College schools, as well as the MBRC, had rowers participating in the event.

MBRC’s Brigid Kennedy, 23, won the silver medal in the women’s lightweight singles, finishing just behind Ontario’s Jill Moffatt for the Wendy Wiebe Trophy.

“She’s new to us and has been going to college and has done a lot of training in college,” MacDonald said.

Also competing for the MBRC are eight junior members, all U19 or U17.

“Some of them have only been rowing for a little over a year, but they have to qualify to get in,” MacDonald said. “While they didn’t get medals, it was fantastic to see them race. They had their own. It’s a very competitive regatta. We’re very proud to see them out there.”

Based on this incident, the future of rowing in Cowichan looks bright, as rowing in Canada is just around the corner.

“We feel very positive about Rowing Canada’s presence here,” MacDonald noted. “We’ve always been the only club in the area, we’ve always been a small club, but now we’re really growing.”

MacDonald explained that rowing in Canada has drawn additional attention to the sport, noting that there is a solid field here.

“It attracts coaches, it attracts athletes, people are drawn to it because they know it’s going to be a big part of the national training program,” she said.

For complete national championship results, visit www.rowingcanada.org

Cowichan Valley Rowing

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