Print Edition: November 14, 2012
With their season winding down, Liz Chisholm discusses the past success of UFV’s varsity rowing team, what we can expect in the upcoming spring season, and some details about the sport.
What were some highlights from last season?
We just finished the Canadian Rowing Championships this last weekend. We were out three days at Burnaby Lake, there were 22 universities represented from across Canada. The highlights were not always predictable. The men’s pair, the women’s pair [and] the men’s lightweight double were probably the biggest highlights. We’ve been participating since 2003. It’s a little different than basketball tournaments where there are [many] tournaments or games happening. We have to bring boats with us, and we need water. There are specific water ways needed. It is 2000m, that’s Olympic distance; the water has to be still. With the Canadian Rowing Championships, if you can fill a team as a university you go. Sometimes individuals who don’t have a full team go and represent their university.
How many championships do you and your team try to attend a season?
In the fall we race five weeks, that is five weekends and sometimes six. That prepares us for C [rank] Canadian Universities. The reason it is in the fall is because we compete across Canada and in the East their water ways will start freezing up anytime now. They’re typically off the water from this point forward. Only really in BC can we practice on the water all year long. Our home venue is Fort Langley Channel. We do freeze up over Christmas.
With the season coming to an end, what can we expect in the spring?
We do dry-land training now until January. We [still] go out on the water until January. I have one rower who is competing in the Canadian National Championships this weekend, Mat Morrison; he is part of Team BC. He is competing in the open men’s pair with one of UVic’s top rowers. I also have a development athlete who has been flagged by National Rowing Canada, Adam Postmus. He fit all the test markers to be developed at a higher level. They will be in camps. In February we will be on the water again; we race in Victoria the first week of March. Usually some of the NCAA teams will come out from Washington and Oregon. They’re just starting up their season . . . End of January is the indoor championships, on the rowing machines in Vancouver and Victoria. There are 15–20 rowing machines in a line with a big screen, with a boat simulation . . . Those results will matter for the World’s selection.
What kind of training does the team do between seasons?
They have 11–13 training sessions a week, with so many hours in the gym and on the water. Right now they move into cardio and rowing machine training. They still do six hours a week of training on the water. They will do that until the end of January, when we move back onto the water full time. Probably about 20 hours a week of training. The summer is usually about the same.
Next season do you have some new recruits we can look out for?
I have a high school recruit, Helena Ram. She is a strong girl. She’s in her first year with the women’s open single. She’s been rowing as a high school student for three years. I hope to see her in the women’s open single. Chantelle Fawcett is another women’s upcoming student, [while on the men’s side we have] Lukazs Grabowski, Ryan Tucker and Alex Lawrie.
What are you looking forward to next season?
After holding 10th place, men and women, the last six years in cross country, we finally broke into the top 10 this last year. The men placed ninth and the women placed eighth. We would like to go higher and make top seven in the country. To do that we are fighting some huge varsity teams, with a roster of fulltime coaches. Just to break into that top seven would be great. We do take in late entries, we intake new people twice a year. We are looking for new athletes.
If you are interested in joining the rowing team, you can email team coach Liz Chisholm
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.