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34th RCA Annual Awards Honours Rowing Community


Carolyn Taylor-Smith, co-recipient of The President’s Award, with Michael Walker, RCA President.  Photo courtesy of Tim Taylor-Smith.

Canada’s rowing community gathered in Burnaby, this past Saturday evening, to present a number of awards to its members.  The annual awards evening concluded the yearly National Conference.

A multitude of prizes were presented.  In addition to high performance athletes being recognized, coaches, volunteers and umpires were all acknowledged, demonstrating the importance the various roles play within the close-knit Canadian rowing community.

The President’s Award, conferred at the discretion of the President of Rowing Canada Aviron (currently Michael Walker), recognizes significant contributions to the sport of rowing. It was awarded jointly to Joe Lyttle, who was unable to attend, and Carolyn Taylor-Smith.

“I am honoured to receive this,” said Taylor-Smith, the St. Albert, Alberta, resident after receiving the award, “but I can only do what I do because of all the great people around me.  They are the ones who should be recognized.”

Taylor-Smith joined the sport later in life, but quickly made up for lost time.  Some of her notable roles included president of the Edmonton Rowing Club and vice-president of Rowing Canada Aviron. She was also instrumental in guiding the development of adaptive (now para) rowing in this country.

The under-23 World Champion crew of Trofym Anderson, Martin Barakso, Jacob Koudys, Tim Schrijver and Michael Thornton were called to the stage to accept their International Achievement Award for their gold medal performance this past summer. 

“We could not have done this without Terry Paul,” beamed Anderson, referring to their coach, “He did a great job bringing us all together in such a short time.”

Other crews were also mentioned for their international achievements, including the senior women’s eight and the senior lightweight women’s double, both for their silver medal performances at the 2014 World Rowing Championships this past summer in Amsterdam.  These two crews were unable to attend. They are busy preparing for this summers all-important Olympic qualification regatta.

A number of Long Service Awards were also presented. Most impressive were Don McSween, from the Ridley Graduate Boat Club, and Herb Challier, from Rowing BC, for their 55 years (each) of service.

Challier joked that he started rowing when he was just four years old.  When asked what changes have occurred in the sport in the last 55 years, he noted that back in the day, he and his buddies were all jokers. 

“The dedication I see today in the young athletes is just tremendous.” Challier concluded.

Next year’s Annual Awards will take place in Ottawa, Ontario.

For a complete list of the prizes awarded and all of the winners, please click here.


Douglas Vandor

Communications and Media Relations Assistant | Adjoint aux Communications et aux Relations avec les médias

Rowing Canada Aviron

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