VICTORIA – It was a special day at the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) on Friday, September 2, as Vikes Athletics held a ceremony to celebrate the official naming of the Lorne and Elisabeth Loomer Rowing Room.
The room was named in honour of UVic’s first rowing coach, Lorne Loomer, and his late wife Elisabeth, who was a proud supporter of physical education.
Members of Loomer’s family, as well as a number of Vikes Rowing alumni, UBC Rowing alumni and current Vikes athletes were in attendance as he gave brief remarks and unveiled the new plaque honouring him and his wife.
“This room is dedicated to understanding the importance of the following: self-discipline, determination and faith,” said Loomer. “Over the years there have been extraordinary men and women who have understood these values and have brought coaching to a world-class level.”
Before going into coaching, Loomer was an accomplished athlete, winning gold for Canada at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and silver in Rome in 1960. He also won a gold medal at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales.
Loomer has since been inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the BC Sports Hall of Fame, the Olympic Club Canada, the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame and the UBC Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the UVic Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 as part of the inaugural class.
His wife, Elisabeth, was an enthusiastic supporter of physical education, both as a teacher and as an accomplished yachtswoman. Together, Lorne and Elisabeth embraced the responsibility to give back to their community and support the next generation in achieving their dreams.
The newly-minted room, previous known informally as the Erg Room, is home to a number of indoor rowing machines on which the men’s and women’s teams practice. Two members of UVic Rowing, Alex Walker and Jessica Bateman, spoke at the event and thanked Loomer directly.
“It is because of the commitment to Vikes rowing for over 50 years by Lorne Loomer and the support from the university that we as athletes are able to have this facility to train,” said Bateman. “I’d like to thank Lorne, the donors that made this possible and the university on behalf of the Vikes rowing teams for allowing us, the athletes, the opportunity to have these dreams become a reality.”