Print Edition: August 21, 2012
Liz Chisholm has finished 8 years as head coach of the varsity rowing team and is beginning her ninth. Both male and female teams had great success in their previous year including attending the annual Canadian University Rowing Championships. Liz Chisholm and her team are excited for the season ahead of them and hope for as much success if not more this year.
How has your training been going over the summer?
We had a very late start to our summer training due to high water levels of the Fraser River this spring and summer. Our home venue is on the Bedford Channel in Fort Langley, and this year was a record-high for water. The speed of the current became very dangerous and we had to suspend training for nearly three weeks. It’s difficult to get athletes motivated on just the gym and cardio training they do, when they really want to be on the water. Since we’ve been back on the water, [the] levels have dropped significantly, and training has been going quite well.
Any special stories to relate?
Other than the high water – our varsity team coached a UFV faculty/staff team of three boats, who learned to row, trained and ultimately raced in Deep Cove at the beginning of June (the high water came after that point). They raced against many other crews in the Lower Mainland, and UFV ended up winning the tourney! First time in the eight years we’ve been running this annual spring event. We’ve come second, but never the big medal winners! Needless to say, our varsity athlete coaches were pretty excited about their “fledgling” rowers.
Can you tell us about your training regimen?
We train four times per week on the water, five times per week in the gym over the summer. In the fall, each of those get upped by one more time in the week. We move upwards of seven times per week on the water as we get into October/November.
Have you made any new acquisitions over the summer?
We’ve recruited three rowers from the local high school rowing team: an open-weight male, lightweight male and open-weight female (Alex Lawrie, Cole Steere and Helena Ram). Pretty excited about that. Rowing is a late-entry sport, but it is preferred to have experienced rowers come into the fold.
How will they effect the composition of your team?
These young rowers have already experienced high-level racing and training, so all aspects—including the mental side of things—are not new to them. That helps when you’re going up against the big guns, like UBC and UVIC, and 21 other university programs at the Canadian University Rowing Championships in November.
What are your expectations for this season?
In the western Canadian provinces, UBC and UVIC are still in the top three in the nation; we come up against them nearly every race we go to. Occasionally, we beat them in some of the smaller boats – but I’d like to see us get much closer to them at every race and in every boat category. They are very big programs, with full-time coaches, and it’s a tough row to hoe – but I think, especially, in our men’s program, we have that ability. We lost our top two men this past spring, as they made their way to UBC’s engineering program – the UBC rowing team is the luckier for it. But, we have those same abilities in our present men’s team; we’re excited by the challenge. We’ve lost a few women to injuries, and may not be able to field a women’s 8+ for our important Western and Canadian rowing championships – but a month more of training may tell a different story.
Can you tell me about any new recruits that you are excited to work with? …
We acquired two existing UFV students—open-weight males—who were new to rowing in April but show tons of promise for this fall. I’m excited about what our men’s 8+ may be able to achieve this fall, with these guys on board. (Ryan Tucker, Samuel Ebai)
… Or members from the current team who have excelled in rowing?
Our men’s coxswain—I’m hoping—will be able to get the best performance out of our strong group of guys. Keeping them under control and focused will be the challenge, but I know how much the guys respect Ben, and his brand of motivation. Ben Schreiner has been with us for a year, but is a quick study, and just what we need. I think we’ll see strong performances from Scott Micona, and Antony Dayton (lightweight). For the women, I think Raquel Martinez, and Jocelyn Woelke can have their best year yet – both of them getting stronger, and more technically proficient. Kaitlyn Block, Ashley Bilodeau, and Bethany Whitehead (lightweights), will be vying for a seat in the very competitive lightweight women’s 2x, and it will be a tough call to make as these three girls are very fit and ready to go!