By David Conlin, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s and women’s summer programs are set to compete at the Challenge West / BC Championships regatta on Elk Lake from July 8-10.
The men’s program will submit boats for the open men’s double sculls, senior A men’s quadruple sculls, open men’s pair, open men’s single, senior A four, novice men’s double sculls and open men’s eight races. For head coach Aalbert Van Schothorst, the event represents a chance to build on an already solid start to the summer schedule.
“We’ve had a core of very strong athletes training over the summer with a good mix of lightweights and heavyweights,” said Van Schothorst. “The goal for this event is to solidify some lineups and refine race strategies for Canadian Henley in August.”
The event also serves as a chance for those not headed to Henley to focus on securing a spot on the program’s roster for the Canadian University Rowing Championships in the fall.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our athletes to compete against the best in Canada as a number of U23 World’s crews are training out of Elk Lake under the guidance of former Vikes head coach Howard Campbell,” said Van Schothorst. “These are crews that set the standard internationally as both the U23 men’s four and quadruple sculls medaled at the World Championships last year.”
Second-year Vike Lucien Brodeur, who recently returned from the British Royal Henley regatta, will be competing in the U23 men’s quadruple sculls with three returning world champions.
For new recruits Isaac Donaldson, who will compete in the Junior World’s pair, and Alexander Matson, who is set for the Junior World’s quadruple sculls, the event is a timely opportunity for a race simulation ahead of the World Junior Rowing Championships. Both crews are led by former Vikes coach Pat Newman, current head coach of the successful Victoria City Rowing Club junior program.
Boats to look out for on the men’s side include team captain Adam Donaldson and partner Mark Davies in the men’s U23 men’s open pair and the pair of Brett Larson and Jamie Ferguson in the men’s senior open double sculls.
The women’s program will submit fewer rowers than in previous years but can still expect some strong performances over the weekend. The focus will be on younger rowers ahead of camp in the fall, when team selection will take place.
“The participants are mainly junior varsity rowers looking to improve their skills in preparation for the fall rowing camp in late August,” said women’s assistant coach Alan Roaf. “If they can make enough progress, they may open up a seat in the varsity eight for the Canadian University Rowing Championships in November.”
Hannah Taft, Kirsten McKay, Rebecca Kingston and Jessica Bateman will make up a strong women’s quadruple sculls boat. The women’s lightweight double boat of Cate White and Emma Kelly is another to watch along with the three women’s pairs boats: Becca Zimmerman and Olivia King; Courtney Smith and Judith Beestermoeller; and Larissa McKinlay and Cailyn Wolski.