VICTORIA – It was a golden finale to the Under 23 World Rowing Championships on Jul. 23 as Rowing Canada’s crews brought home two gold medals on the last day of the five-day event held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria from Jul. 19-23. The women’s eight and Trevor Jones in the men’s single sculls topped the podium after winning their respective A Finals.

Caileigh Filmer, who rowed in the stroke seat for Canada, was a part of the golden women’s eight crew and fortunately for the University of Victoria the 2016 Rio Olympian will be dawning the blue and gold this September 2017. Filmer and her Canadian contingent also set a World Best Time earlier in the heats.

“It was an incredible day to be able to represent the maple leaf,” said Filmer, who transfers to UVic after two years at the University of California Berkeley. “Prior to our departure for Europe, we had a challenging high volume high intensity training program that allowed us to trust in our abilities and leave any doubts behind us going into racing. We stuck to our plan to be relentless in the middle 1000 meters of the race, trusting that we were ready for whatever it would take to win. We really surged through the last quarter of the race as our coxswain called for Canada and to live in the moment. This was a first U23 World Championship gold for all of us. It was surreal singing the national anthem while the Canadian flag was raised.”

Vikes rower Patrick Keane and team mate Aaron Lattimer finished fourth in the lightweight men’s double sculls A Final. The men’s quadruple sculls, which included Vikes Ty Adams and Luc Brodeur, won the B Final, edging France for seventh overall.

This national team experience will undoubtedly be key for the Vikes rowing programs this year who host the Western Canadian University Rowing Championships at Elk Lake, on Oct. 28. The Canadian University Rowing Championship will also nearly be in their backyard, as the two-day event will be hosted Nov. 4-5 in Burnaby.

“Victoria is home for me which makes me excited about my return,” adds Filmer, whose mother Helena was also a Vikes rower. “The team has an incredible culture and legacy that I hope to be able to add to. Team culture is most important to me, as it can either help excel or inhibit performance.”

“I believe that when you love the process and surround yourself with teammates who have the same commitment to do whatever is necessary, it makes it all the more easy to challenge yourself when it seems impossible. The team this fall looks to be very strong with a mix of returning Vikes and incoming talent all hungry for one goal. I am excited about the potential of what could come this year from the team.”

The Vikes rowing programs are currently preparing for their participation in the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta hosted in St. Catharines, Ont. from Aug. 6-13, while the program’s first fall competition is the Head of the Gorge, Oct. 21, and the Tail of the Gorge, Oct. 22.