rowing st cath

The Henley racecourse (pictured) during this past summer’s Pan American regatta, will welcome the National Rowing Championships next week.  Photo: Katie Steenman Images.

October 2, 2015.

Athletes from across the country are preparing to compete next week at the 2015 National Rowing Championships (NRC’s). The regatta will be hosted by the St. Catharines Rowing Club and will be held at the Henley racecourse, in St.Catharines, Ontario.

Following a short break after the World Championships, Canada’s senior athletes have returned to their respective training camps in order to prepare for the upcoming regatta.     

“My down time was short but sweet,” explained Conlin McCabe who stroked the men’s four to a fourth place finish at the recent World Championships in France, thus helping to qualify his crew for next year’s Olympics. “It’s going to be an intense winter of training but all of the guys are really charged up to attack the miles this year.  And it all starts here with this regatta.”

With less than a year until next summer’s multi-sport extravaganza in Brazil, there will be no respite from the pressure as athletes secure their positions on the Olympic team. The National Championships, which are kick-starting the last and most important ten months of the quadrennial, will be the first of many selection events throughout the year.

 “The NRCs are an important preparation step as they represent the opening of the 2016 selection year for our team,” explained London Olympian Ashley Brzozowicz. “This is great opportunity to race and prove one’s speed.”

Traditionally held in November, the NRCs are being held earlier this year to allow the athletes more time to prepare for the 2016 Games.

 “With the Rio Olympics and Paralympics now in sight,” explained Peter Cookson, High Performance Director for Rowing Canada Aviron, “the National Rowing Championships provide an opportunity for our athletes to start the final push to the podium. Having the NRC’s one month earlier will allow for more preparation time before Rio.”

A number of Olympic medalists will be competing in St.Catharines. London Olympic silver medalists Will Crothers, Conlin McCabe, Rob Gibson and Beijing bronze medallist Julien Bahain will be returning to the Henley racecourse, site of their Pan American gold medal wins this summer.  This time however, they will be attempting to be crowned Canadian champion. On the women’s side, London Olympic silver medalists and recent World Championship bronze medallists in the eight, Natalie Mastracci, Lauren Wilkinson and Ashley Brzozowicz will also be chasing a national title on the waters of Martindale Pond.

The 10th annual 2015 National Rowing Championships will run from October 8th until the 10th.

Racing gets underway Thursday morning at 9:00 AM local time.  A preliminary schedule of Saturday’s finals and other important information can be found here. A medal presentation and a BBQ will be held following the last race, which is scheduled for 11:20 EST on Saturday, October 10th.

Athlete biographies of members of Canada’s national rowing team who will be competing in St.Catharines are available here.