VICTORIA – After a seemingly never-ending battle with Mother Nature, the ice has finally melted just in time for the 43rd annual Elk Lake Spring Regatta, taking place March 4-5. With Elk Like freezing over for the first time since 1988, the Vikes had been pushed inside, where they trained on the ergs.
“Our athletes have shown a confidence and sort of aggression that was reflected by maybe spending a bit more time on the erg, so that was good for them,” said men’s head coach Aalbert Van Schothorst.
“The winter drama has compromised our water time but we have kept up fitness with ergs and such, though lots of injuries and illness have been a problem with some of our top people out for extended periods of time,” said women’s head coach Rick Crawley.
The Vikes are in top shape to take on rival crews, with both the University of British Colombia and the University of the Fraser Valley travelling to Victoria to compete. Coming off of a strong showing at Monster Erg, the Indoor Erg Championships, as well as an intense reading break training camp, the past few weeks have helped to “solidify a number of positions… Now we have to take that speed and energy we have and focus it,” said Van Schothorst. “Truth is, we’re excited to get back into our program with our boats and our guys and start crushing some meters on the water.”
About the Event
This inter-club regatta will be a useful tool for the Vikes men and women to size up the competition for the fast approaching Brown Cup, an annual head-race between UVic and UBC Varsity and Reserve crews that takes place on March 25. It will also gives the coaches a good idea of the speed and abilities of boats, serving as a stepping stone for future regattas such as the San Diego Crew Classic.
The Vikes men’s 8+ landed a first place finish at the Canadian University Rowing Championships in November, followed by first place finishes in all senior events, including the novice event, at this year’s Monster Erg. With the addition of talented lightweight and heavyweight freshmen to the program, as well as U-23 gold medalist Taylor Perry, the men’s crew has fine-tuned their boat seatings for success.
On the women’s crew, the addition of 2016 Rio Olympian Caileigh Filmer has inspired the crew to aim high and pull hard. The Women’s 8+ had a nail biting race at the Canadian University Rowing Championships as well, earning gold with a final time of 6:39.3, placing them 0.6 seconds in front of the T-Birds crew. Crawley believes that the crew is considerably faster now than it was in the fall.
As well as being the home club for the Vikes, Elk Lake is also the training base for Rowing Canada so former Olympic athletes are sure to make an appearance. Crawley expects the varsity crew will give UBC a good fight, and with Rowing Canada athletes entered that it will be good to see how the Vikes stack up aginst high-level competition. A highlight of last year for many athletes included a face-off between Rowing Canada 8+ and 4- boats.
By the Numbers
1850 – the number of metres that the course runs
412 – entries this year
62 – length (feet) of an average 8+ shell
5:43.68 – the time to beat from last year’s Open Eight’s category.
3 – the number of Olympians racing this weekend.
Saturday & Sunday, Mar. 4 – 5, Elk Lake, Victoria, B.C.