By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA, B.C. – The University of Victoria Vikes women’s rowing team will depart for the mainland Oct. 17 as they compete in the Western Canadian University Rowing Championships held at Burnaby Lake Rowing Club in Burnaby, B.C. The Vikes women are taking the largest competitive team to this event in the past four years.
“In general the top contenders should be UVic and UBC but Western, Brock and Queens are more than capable at spoiling any race,” said Vikes women’s rowing head coach Rick Crawley. “This weekend givues us a look at how strong UBC’s claim will be compared to ours and it is essential race experience in preparation for CURC’s. It is a preview of sorts and gives the coaching staff indications of where we are going and where we might need to work on over the next two weeks.”
All races will be 2000-m and the feature event will be the final race of the day, the varsity eight. The Vikes return just four athletes that won the 2015 Brown Cup including cox Becky Wilder, stroke Rebecca Zimmerman, Madeline Spangehl and Jillian Legare. Maxine Chapman who will join this crew in the eights placed third in the E final at her first National Rowing Championships on Oct. 10, while newcomer McKenna Simpson and rowing in the bow seat has shown lots of potential leading up to this weekend.
The Vikes will also put high hopes on a competitive and experience lightweight coxed four group, four of who were part of the crew that won gold at the Henley in August 2015 in the coxless four. Cate White, Deborah Snell, Jessica Bateman and Lauren Goforth will be joined by cox Cassidy Fernandesthis weekend. White and Snell were also members of the 2015 Brown Cup winning crew, while Fernandes coxed three of these four rowers to a Canadian University Rowing Championship (CURC) silver medal in the lightweight coxed four last November.
“Our lightweights across the board will be top contenders from the Vikes side,” added Crawley. “Also, our novices and 2v’s look good but the interesting battle will be the heavy weights as we have been close with UBC over the past two years. I am sure they will want to avenge Brown Cup loss.”
The Vikes will also have Layla Balooch and Kirsten McKay race the women’s single, as well as a junior varsity eight and two mixed crews of freshmen and novices entered in the novice women’s eight race.
Other competitors at the event include UBC, Calgary, Simon Fraser, Fraser Valley, Lakeland, Camosun College and Alberta. Races begin around 11:10 a.m. with the coxed fours and wrap up with the eights at 2:20 p.m.
Women’s single (1x): Layla Balooch and Kirsten McKay