Campbell River’s Avalon Wasteneys and her Women’s 8 rowing teammates captured gold at the World U23 Championships in Poland on Sunday.
It was one of two gold medals that capped off an exciting week of racing for Canadian crews at the World Rowing Under-23 Championships in Poznan, Poland. The women’s eight and Trevor Jones in the men’s single sculls both finished on the podium today, dominating their A Finals and defending their world championship titles.
The Canadian women’s eight boat powered by Isabelle Ruby-Hill, Wasteneys, Sydney Payne, Stephanie Grauer, Kendra Wells, Madison Mailey, Morgan Rosts, Ivy Elling-Quaintance, and coxswain Laura Court waited patiently to race in their A Final event after qualifying directly from their heat on Thursday. Canada won their heat by a solid margin and recorded the overall fastest time. In the A Final, the United States shot out to an early lead with Canada in second. Canada decided that the third 500 was theirs to own and picked up the pace to overtake the United States. Canada looked outstanding in the final sprint and with a time of 6:04.61 they successfully defended their 2017 world championship title.
“I’m proud of this team and their commitment to race,” said Adam Parfitt, RCA Director of Coach and Athlete Pathways. “Every crew this week had a challenge in front of them, approached it professionally and learned from the process. It’s thrilling to have the two World Championship repeats in the men’s single and women’s eight. Those were outstanding performances and set the standard for us in Canada.”
In March, 2017, Wasteneys beat a field of 100 of the province’s top athletes to be named RBC Training Ground regional champion. At the time she was a 19-year-old varsity rower at the University of Victoria, and fairly new to the sport. Wasteneys went into the Vancouver regional final after being named top female competitor at the program’s first-ever regional qualifier held in Victoria. She is a Vancouver Island native and originally from Campbell River.
RBC Training Ground is the Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC) and RBC initiative to bring new and undiscovered athletes into Canada’s Olympic talent pool. The program gives local athletes – no matter what sport they are involved in – the chance to test their strength, speed and endurance in front of officials from 11 Olympic sports, and earn ‘Future Olympian’ funding from RBC. The program has already awarded ongoing funding to more than 50 young athletes – including Wasteneys – to help bring their Olympic dreams to life. The funding is administered through the athlete’s national sports organization.