The Final Olympic Qualification Regatta marks the last chance for rowers around the world to earn that elusive spot on the start line at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
World Rowing recently announced a record number of entries for the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta, with over 400 athletes from 49 nations heading to Lucerne for the final showdown from May 15-17. Seven Canadian rowers have patiently waited for this critical opportunity.
The Canadian team has been training and preparing over the last week in Fribourg, Switzerland, only 90 minutes from the competition venue.
“We have a great support staff traveling with us on this trip who have planned out every single detail,” said National Team Coach Jeremy Ivey. “They’ve made the trip as safe as possible so that all we have to focus on is preparing to qualify.”
Let’s fill you in on the talented Canadian crews targeting Tokyo qualification in Lucerne!
Men’s Four (M4-)
This qualification event will mark the first competitive opportunity for this Canadian crew combination, led by two veteran Olympians.
2012 Olympic silver medallist Will Crothers (Kingston Rowing Club) leads the team in the stroke seat with Jakub Buczek (St. Catharines Rowing Club) in the bow position. Gavin Stone (Argonaut Rowing Club/Queen’s University) and Luke Gadsdon (Leander Boat Club/Brock University) round out this dynamic sweep boat led by National Team Coach and 1992 Olympic Gold medallist Terry Paul.
“Our training has been quite busy here in Fribourg having to adjust to the time zone, setting up a new boat and operating on a different waterway,” said Paul. “We have been taking our time with all these challenges and definitely starting to feel the exhilaration of our upcoming races.”
This will be the first international test for this crew as Canada did not send a men’s four to the first Olympic qualifier (the 2019 World Championships).
“The stakes are high with only two of 13 crews qualifying in Lucerne,” said Paul. “We expect the standard of racing to be extremely high and we have prepared accordingly. This crew has come through an extra year of training and have things tuned to every detail.”
Men’s Lightweight Double (LM2x)
Maxwell Lattimer (UBC Rowing Club) and Patrick Keane (Victoria City Rowing Club/UVic Rowing Club) have been rowing as a crew combination for several years now, placing fourth at the 2019 World Cup 2 and ninth at the 2019 World Championships in Linz, Austria.
The Canadian duo has taken advantage of the additional year of training and are approaching this event with fresh perspective.
“Pat and I have really enjoyed the past 12 months together. My time away in lockdown reminded me how much I love the sport of rowing and being in a boat,” said Lattimer. “We have tried to keep that in the front of our minds in our lead up to the qualifier. We are lucky to do what we do and we have enjoyed the extra year of training under Dick Tonks and Coach Jer.”
“Racing is the reason we work so hard on a daily basis. We are looking forward to enjoying ourselves on the Rotsee and trying to have our best race possible.”
There are 18 boats entered into this LM2x event with two spots up for grabs.
Men’s Single Sculls (M1x)
Trevor Jones (Peterborough Rowing Club) is no stranger to international success, having been crowned two-time under-23 World Champion in the single sculls in 2017 and 2018. Trevor competed in the men’s double sculls at the 2019 World Championships before moving back into the single in 2020.
Despite the lack of international regatta opportunities over the last year, Jones feels race ready.
“The last five years of work has been leading to this moment,” said Jones. “You want to go and add meaning to all the miles you’ve done over the past five years.”
Training alongside other Canadian crews such as the men’s pair and the lightweight men’s double helps build resilience.
“We have a highly competitive training environment – lots of side-by-side work among the crews,” said Ivey. “It can make every day feel like a World Championship event. When they get to a big event like this it becomes like any other day.”
There are 26 boats entered into the men’s single event with two spots available.
RCA thanks the Société d’aviron Fribourg for access to their training venue and the Sisters of Communété du Verbe de Vie for the warm welcome and COVID safe accommodations.