by Sara Bartsch (Contributor)
UFV has two rowing teams, each for a different skill level. The novice rowing team is an opportunity for beginner rowers to learn the sport. The novice program is designed to introduce inexperienced students to rowing. Novices go through several stages of training before they are ready for competition. They are first shown technique on land and then put it to practice on water. After first learning endurance and balance on the larger, more stable eight-man boat, they move on to the smaller four-man boat.
According to the Canadian Rowing Association, the majority of rowers who go to the national level have been introduced to rowing at university introduction programs. UFV has its own novice program, which has been a strong contributor to the University’s varsity team. Brother and sister rowers Courtney and Spencer Landsiedel began in the novice program and are now on the varsity team. Each year CRA goes to each university’s amateur program and looks for potential national rowers.
Once a member of the Novice team has shown enough skill and dedication, they are invited to join the more competitive varsity team. They regularly attend regattas to compete against other university teams, such as teams from UBC and UVIC. Competitions include both a short, one kilometre length and a long, eight kilometre length. The competitions also feature boats ranging from one-man to eight-man. It is important for the team to work together and synchronize their rowing in order to maximize speed and complete the race with the fastest time.
The rowing season starts up every fall and continues through until spring. Varsity rowers are out on the water to practice at 6:30 a.m. every morning, except Thursdays and Sundays. The practice spot of choice is on the Bedford Channel in Fort Langley. They practice in rain, frost, snow, and yet even more rain. The only weather that seems to dampen their determination is fog, which, due to poor visibility, does occasionally keep them from training in the small side channel of the Fraser River. Their perseverance to practice in all weather pays off when it comes time to compete for real.
The UFV Cascades men’s and women’s rowing team has been successfully coached by Liz Chisholm for many years, as she enters her tenth season as head coach. She has been its driving force and has lead UFV into victories over other notable universities, including UBC. The UFV rowing team has two upcoming races: the UBC Invitational on October 16 and the Western Canada University Championships on October 23 in Fort Langley.