Chilliwack’s Erin Steele a standout at UFV regatta

The paddler posted a lightning-quick time at the Head of the Fort regatta in Fort Langley.

On a picture-perfect day in Fort Langley, the University of the Fraser Valley rowing club turned in a series of strong performances as it hosted the Head of the Fort.

The 10th annual edition of the Cascades’ home regatta, held last Saturday, was not only blessed by sunny skies, but by ideal conditions on the Bedford Channel waterway.

“The weather made such a difference, but it was also the water,” UFV head coach Liz Chisholm enthused. “Racers came up to me afterwards and said the water was so smooth. There wasn’t much tidal movement.

“When people have conditions like that and feel like they can race their best, they’re happy. That’s what they come to do.”

One highlight for the Cascades was a first-place finish (by raw time) for Chilliwack’s Erin Steele in the women’s single (29:08.96).

Chisholm noted that Steele’s performance was significant as it was just the second time she’d competed in the single – the first being the previous weekend at the Elk Lake Sprints in Victoria.

“I was incredibly impressed,” Chisholm said. “I know a few people in that race that Erin beat – people who have competed internationally. They’re older, but they’re still fast.

Chilliwack’s Mitchell Wierks and Langley’s Clayton DeVries finished third in a crowded men’s double field (25:22.41).

“They didn’t feel like they had a very good row, but they beat everyone in terms of raw time,” Chisholm noted. “When they looked at the result, they went, ‘Wow.'”

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