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By Natalie Wise, Vikes Communications

October 17, 2012, VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria men’s and women’s rowing crews begin the 2012-2013 season this weekend when they travel to the Western Canada University Rowing Championships in Burnaby, B.C.

At last year’s Western Canada University Rowing Championship both the men’s and the women’s rowing crews won the tournament titles. The men battled against rivals University of British Columbia Thunderbirds to trade wins until the final race where the Vikes won both the varsity eights and the lightweight men’s four in order to win the overall title. The women swept every single event with the varsity eight finishing a full 16 seconds ahead of second-place UBC. Both the men’s and women’s crews will be looking to duplicate the success this coming weekend.

Graduating only one player from last year’s roster, the men’s crew is sure to be in strong contention. Captain Will O’Connell (Victoria, BC) will row with fellow fourth-year Connor McGuigan (Victoria, BC) to take a run at the pairs title while veteran Anthony Linton (Winnipeg, MB) will be a strong showing in the singles.

“They put in a lot of early season work,” said men’s rowing head coach Howard Campbell. “Everybody’s worked really hard and things have just been getting better and better. They’ve set themselves up for another run at the title.”

The women’s team is travelling with a depleted roster after losing several key rowers to injury and eligibility issues but with a heavy sophomore contingent the women still have the ability on any given day to put in the work and come out on top.

“It should be an interesting weekend,” said women’s head coach Rick Crawley. “We’ve graduated some key rowers and we’re a pretty young group right now but I think we could have some success. We’re still reworking some of our line-ups.”

The Vikes men’s and women’s rowing crews will travel to Burnaby to compete in the Western Canada University Rowing Championships Oct. 21.