Vikes rowers bring home five medals at Pan Am Games

Ardy Ramezani, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The large contingent of former and current University of Victoria Vikes rowers captured a total of five gold medals for Canada at the Pan American Games held in Toronto, Ont.

One of the most exciting races was the final event of the rowing competitions, the men’s eight. With current Vike Jacob Koudys as the coxswain and Vikes alum Kai Langerfeld taking one of the seats, the Canadian boat stayed in the leading spot for the entire race crossing the line in 6:07.01. With Canada capturing gold, Argentina and the United States finished in second and third, respectively.

“The most surreal part of the whole thing was the crowd,” said Koudys, who also guided the Vikes men to gold in the eights at the 2014 Canadian University Championship in November. ” I didn’t expect to see such a staggering amount of Canadian pride going into this. Once we got onto the podium, we were all able to stand and sing the anthem with the crowd with the maple leaf in front of us.”

Upon winning the race, the men celebrated with their usual tradition of throwing the coxswain off the docks into the water.

“Any thoughts of wet and cold were drowned out once the grandstands started counting one, two, three alongside my crewmates as they catapulted me off the medal docks,” added Koudys.

For Koudys, the experience has been an opportunity of a lifetime. Recalling the opening ceremonies, Koudys said, “the air was buzzing with excitement and patriotism as we walked in front of 55,000 people. Once we entered, the sea of red and white was overwhelming.”

Langerfeld also captured another gold medal for Canada in the men’s coxless four as they finished the event in 6.10:80 ahead of Cuba and Argentina, which finished in second and third, respectively.

In the men’s lightweight coxless four, former Vike Nicholas Pratt also contributed a gold medal to Canada’s tally. Pratt joined Maxwell Lattimier, Brendon Hodge, and Eric Woelfl in finishing the course 4.16 seconds ahead of the runner-ups for a final time of 6:42.40.

Vikes alum Saul Garcia-Alvarez and his crewmate Henry Mark competed in the lightweight double sculls. The duo reached the A final but crossed the line in fifth place with a time of 6:31.75. Mexico took the top spot, while the United States and Cuba rounded out the podium.

On the women’s side, Antje Von Seydlitz and her crewmate Kerry Shaffer captured their first gold medal as they crossed the 2000-m line in in the final in a time of 7:13.01, ahead of the second place American competitors by 1.64 seconds. Cuba rounded out the podium in third place, seven seconds behind the Canadian boat.

Von Seydlitz and Shaffer then joined Carling Zeeman and Kate Goodfellow in the women’s quadruple sculls. The women finished the course in 7.07:63 in first place to capture another gold medal. The Canadian women finished ahead of the Americans by 8.63 seconds while Argentina finished the event in third.

The success of the Vikes athletes was also enjoyed by the national team coaches, which also have ties with the Vikes program. Former long-time Vikes men’s rowing head coach Howie Campbell was the National men’s assistant coach and alum Al Morrow was also there as the National lightweight men’s coach. Former Vike Adam Parfitt also joined the coaches as the team manager.

With much accomplishment for Canada at the Games, fourth-year Koudys credits UVic’s hosting of the Canadian University Rowing Championships as part of the preparation for his success.

“I was pleased to be able to do it for the Vikes and Canada,” concluded Koudys.

With rowing competitions now finished, Canada led the table with a total of 11 medals. Eight of those medals were gold with one silver and two bronze.

The Pan American Games is the world’s third largest international multi-sport games. The Games run from July 11-26 and feature competitions for 48 events. For more information, visit


Coxless Four (GOLD – 6:10.80) – Kai Langerfeld, Will Crothers, Tim Schrijver, Conlin McCabe
Eight (GOLD – 6:07.01) – Jacob Koudys (c), Kai Langerfeld, Mike Evans (b), Will Dean, Julien Behain, Martin Barakso, Tim Schrijver, Conlin McCabe, Will Crothers (s)
Lightweight Four (GOLD – 6:42.40) – Nicholas Pratt, Brendan Hodge, Maxwell Lattimer, Eric Woelfl
Lightweight Double (FIFTH – 6:31.75) – Saul GarciaMark Henry 

Double (GOLD – 7:13.01) – Antje Von Seydlitz, Kerry Shaffer
Quad (GOLD – 7:07.63) – Antje Von SeydlitzKerry Shaffer, Carling Zeeman, Kate Goodfellow


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