Canada’s U23 M4x of Taylor Perry (left), Graham Peeters, Karl Zimmermann and Matthew Finley on the podium as World U23 Champions.
Canada’s U23 Rowing Team won a medal of every colour at the 2015 World Rowing U23 Championships, which concluded on Sunday in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
The Canadian Men’s Quadruple Sculls topped the podium with a gold medal finish on the final day of racing. World U23 Champions of Matthew Finley (St. Catharines Rowing Club), Karl Zimmermann (Leander Boat Club), Graham Peeters (Peterborough Rowing Club) and stroke, Taylor Perry (Fredericton Rowing Club) led from start to finish ahead of crews from New Zealand and Australia.
Coached by Terry Paul out of Victoria, the crew crossed the finish line is 5:45.750, over two seconds ahead of New Zealand with Australia another 2.5seconds behind. Poland finished fourth with Ukraine and Italy rounding out the A final field.
It was second time lucky for Finley, Peeters, and Perry who had all competed together in this same event at the 2014 World Rowing U23 Championships, where they won the B final, finishing seventh overall.
“The guys really progressed with each race through the regatta,” said coach Terry Paul. “They went into the final with confidence and crushed it from the first stroke then put it away with a big move at the 1000m. I am so proud of these guys and their bronze medal training partners in the Men’s Four.”
Canada’s U23 Men’s Four, also coached by Paul, earned a bronze medal after a great showing. The crew of Jakub Bucsek (Columbia University), Lucas de Gelder (McGill University Rowing Club), Mackenzie Copp (Boston University) and David DeGroot (Brock University/St. Catharines Rowing Club) fought a close race, changing positions three times with the Americans and then closing in on the British crew in the final 500m. Canada finished in a time of 6:13.44, just 0.37seconds off the silver medal which went to Great Britain, behind the gold medal winning Romains.
Winning a silver medal for Canada was the women’s four of Caileigh Filmer (University of California/Victoria City Rowing Club), Morgan Cathrea (Gorge Narrows Rowing Club), Hillary Janssens (UBC) and stroke Nicole Hare (Washington State University). It was a step up for Janssens and Hare who won a bronze medal in this event at the 2014 World Rowing U23 Championships.
Coached by Michelle Darvill, the Canadian crew conceded 2.5seconds to the Americans in the first 500m and sat in fourth position. With 2014 World Rowing Junior Champion, Caileigh Filmer sitting in bow, the women clawed back up into medal contention pushing the Australians into fourth and then Canada moved past Great Britain in the third 500m but couldn’t catch the Americans who had led from the start and finished in 6:53.680, 1.32sec ahead of Canada.
The three medals helped to put Canada in seventh place in the medal standings and as noted by Rowing Canada’s High Performance Director, Peter Cookson; “The Under 23 program continues to improve under the direction of Peter Shakespear. The U23 program is a fundamental development path for our future Olympians so to see 12 of our athletes on the podium in Plovdiv bodes well for the future.”
Canada also earned places in four B finals. The lightweight men’s quad of Alex Watson (Peterborough Rowing Club), Vlad Timinsky (Burnaby Lake Rowing Club), Patrick Keane (Victoria City Rowing Club) and Aaron Lattimer (UBC) dominated the B final winning by almost eight seconds ahead of USA and Austria. The Canadians were unfortunate not to go through to the A final after a hotly contested repechage but may take some consolation in seeing their winning B final time of 6:08.340 would have earned them a bronze medal in the A final.
Other finishing places were ninth overall for the lightweight women’s double scull of Jill Moffat (University of Western Ontario) and Larissa Werbicki (University of Western Ontario and 2014 World Rowing Junior Champion with Filmer), 11th for the women’s quadruple scull of Larkin Davenport Huyer (Kingston Rowing Club), Sarah Rothwell (Peterborough Rowing Club/Trent University), Ali Zwicker (Victoria City Rowing Club) and Gabrielle Smith (Club d’aviron de Boucherville).
The lightweight men’s pairing of James Myers and Grayson Gray, both of Brock University and St. Catharines Rowing Club, struggled through the semi-finals but unfortunately were forced to withdraw from the B final due to injury.