Louise Hodgson-Jones

(Victoria, BC) A new athlete endurance training centre in the Capital Regional District will be completed and open for training this month at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE). The facility will primarily be used for Ergometer training by the National Rowing Team in the months leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. After the Games, it will continue to be used by the National Team, as well as other athletes and the general public.

The training centre – located on the Interurban campus of Camosun College, next to Layritz Park as part of PISE – will have 2,400 sq ft of temporary training space for the national team, enabling them to do dryland training during the winter months in Victoria. The facility will also be available for other high-performance training and community use at specific times.

Initial support for an indoor training centre for rowing came to Rowing Canada Aviron through the Mark Lowry Memorial Sport Excellence Fund. Mark Lowry, who died in 2005, was a former Director of Sport for the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and an inspirational leader of the Olympic movement in Canada. The Fund set up in his name is designed to assist high performance athletes achieve success at the Olympics Games. The opening of this new facility honours Marks’ contributions to high performance sport and, his memory.

This new centre was made possible with major contributions from the Commonwealth Legacy Fund, Rowing Canada Aviron, and Canadian Sport Centre Pacific. Additional support came from Canada’s Own the Podium program as well as from a private group of supporters based in Calgary, who continue to back Canada’s Men’s Eight team in their quest for gold.

“The development of an athlete endurance training centre is the first major addition to PISE since its opening three years ago. This significantly enhances the ability to provide a world class training environment to Victoria’s Olympic athletes preparing for the London 2012 Games,” says Robert Bettauer, CEO of PISE. “The project is also a wonderful example of partnership between PISE, Rowing Canada, Canadian Sport Centre Pacific and Commonwealth legacy funds, to pool our resources towards creating an important new asset for athletes and sport in the CRD.”

The training centre is in-keeping with PISE’s model of fostering a culture of excellence through an all-encompassing facility in a ‘under one roof’ concept, increasing the facility space and opportunities for the high performance and development athletes training at PISE.

“The facility will allow us to maintain a high level of training during the winter months, in our preparation for the Olympic Games next year,” said Mike Spracklen, coach of the Gold Medal Olympic Men’s Eight. “We are very grateful to all partners for making this valuable facility available to us.”

“An indoor facility is a critical component for our National Team Programs both here and in London, Ontario.  It allows the rowers to maintain their rigorous training schedule even during inclement weather and provides a venue for physiological testing, among other uses,” says Donna Atkinson, Executive Director of Rowing Canada.

“The Canadian Sport Centre Pacific is proud to partner on this important facility that continues the work our organization does to enhance the daily training environment of athletes, who are building towards podium performances,” said Wendy Pattenden, CSC Pacific Chief Executive Officer. “This facility will enable our experts in physiology, nutrition, sport psychology, and strength & conditioning to extend the services we provide to Rowing Canada and ensure the team has everything it needs to succeed in London and beyond.”