BURNABY – Three gold-medal performances highlighted the University of Victoria Vikes women’s rowing program’s final day of the Canadian University Rowing Championship hosted at Burnaby Lake on Nov. 5. First-year Vike but 2016 Rio Olympian Caileigh Filmer topped the podium twice as she won the women’s single and helped the Vikes eight dominate for first place. The heavyweight pair of Olivia King and Morgan Cathrea also won gold, while a bronze for the lightweight coxed four helped the Vikes finish second, just four points back of national champions Western.
“It’s both our first and last CURCs so I think we came here with one goal to lay it all down on the line and to win so we are happy we did that,” said King following her gold-medal win alongside team mate Cathrea in the women’s pair (7:40.270).
Cathrea and King, who were the top team in the time trials a day previous, had an impressive 10-second margin on second-placed UBC (7:50.170)
“We planned on being strong and internal and focusing on our race rather than being external,” added Cathrea about the game plan for today.
Cathrea and King only met in pre-season this year and had just the fall season to find their strides together. Time proved not a factor as fifth year Cathrea and third year King came together in impressive fashion.
“We have emphasized in the pairs a lot so it’s nice to see it pay off,” said Vikes women’s rowing head coach Rick Crawley about Cathrea and King’s performance. “They are similar body types so they match up really well. A lot of the technical things that they do were similar to begin with so it was just a matter of blending them a little more as time went on. A lot of it is just pounding up and down the lake doing kilometers and being pressed by other people at the same time trying to get better at how you execute things.”
Strong Western and UBC crews in the lightweight coxed fours kept a top-two finish out of reach for the Vikes but third place was important in the team points totals and the Vikes were able to meet that goal. Coxswain Jess Wallace led the crew of Alanna Ward, Sarah Craven, Rachel Kalkman and Rebecca Kingston to bronze in a time of 8:00.589, while Western took first in 7:43.103, just two seconds ahead of UBC.
In Filmer’s first national championship performance for the Vikes, it was nothing but gold. The California Berkeley transfer finished first in the women’s single in a convincing fashion as she took gold with over 13 seconds on second-placed Queen’s racer Louise Munro.
“I was just focused on the team for me,” said Filmer about her individual race. “The single was my preparation for the National Rowing Championships next weekend. I just wanted to put my best performance in because I really wanted to give as many points to the team as I could. It’s really just a team effort and when I was rowing with my single I had the rest of my team in there rather than being out by myself.”
From there, Filmer, in the eight seat, contributed to the women’s eights taking gold in the final race of the day. The Vikes were unstoppable, coming in ahead of UBC in a time of 6:39.094 with a seven second gap. It was all celebrations as fifth years Maxine Chapman, Jessica Stewart and coxswain Cassidy Fernandes ended their final Canadian University championship on a high.
“This is a really talented group and we went in thinking just about just keeping stronger together and breaking things down to keep it simple,” added Filmer about the eights performance. “We didn’t want to overthink anything but we could just trust our training and if we did what we have been doing in practice we would have a really solid race.”
“Today the pieces fell together and everyone was prepared for the weather. We had to be mentally strong to know there was going to be some off strokes with such a strong crosswind but Cass our cox did such a great job.”
Vikes Ward and Craven added to team scores in the lightweight double, finishing sixth in their final, while Rebecca Kingston was fourth in the lightweight single.
Up next the Vikes will prepare or the RCA National Rowing Championships and Canada Cup, also hosted in Burnaby, Nov. 11-12.
2017 Canadian University Rowing Championships
Women’s Final Results – Nov. 5, 2017
GOLD – Caileigh Filmer (8:07.185)
Womens Lwt 1x
4th – Rebecca Kingston (8:43.493)