Members of Canada's junior national rowing team train on Quamichan Lake prior to the Junior World Rowing Championships in Japan. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Rowers prep for junior worlds on Quamichan Lake

Lake an 'excellent' training site, says NextGen coach

Young rowers from across Canada spent the last two weeks training on Quamichan Lake ahead of the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships.

The event was a pre-camp for the junior national team prior to travelling overseas, where they are now holding a second camp in Sagamihara, Japan, prior to heading to Tokyo next Monday for the championships that begin next Wednesday.

It was preceded by a national selection camp with about 30 athletes from across Canada, where 16 athletes were picked for the World Junior Championships team and the rest were sent to the CanAmMex Regatta in Florida.

According to Chuck McDiarmid, NextGen Program lead coach for Rowing Canada Aviron, the camp accomplished everything the coaches set out to do.

“The camp was a huge success,” he said. “The athletes had a month of intense training.”

Bringing the athletes to a single location to train is vital to achieving Canada’s goals at the World Junior Championships, McDiarmid emphasized.

“The team is selected from athletes from across the country,” he pointed out. “And it is important to create an environment where the best athletes in the country can train together. It also gives the boats time to gel as the athletes get to know one another.”

Quamichan Lake, which has been selected as the location of Rowing Canada Aviron’s national training centre, is an excellent site, McDiarmid said.

“The size of the lake allows for many different types of training,” he said. “You can do long loops of the lake to get volume, or row on the buoyed course for speed work and racing.

“All the users of the lake and all of Duncan were very welcoming and wanted to work with us to create the right environment for the athletes.”

Queen Margaret’s School provided room and board for the athletes and coaches during their stay in the Cowichan Valley.

Quamichan Lake will be used for more camps in the lead up to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and the full relocation of RCA to North Cowichan will begin after the games. McDiarmid is looking forward to the future of the sport on Quamichan Lake.

“The lake is a perfect fit for a national training centre,” he said. “The ability to train on a buoyed race course, on a lake that can handle a large number of users is ideal. For Rowing Canada Aviron’s NextGen programs, having locations that can house athletes on a seasonal basis is also great.

“I’m personally very excited to see how the lake develops over the next few years.”

Rowing notes: Although there were no athletes from the Cowichan Valley named to the Canadian team for the World Rowing Junior Championships or CanAmMex Regatta, Duncan’s Michael Braithwaite, a former Olympian now coaching at Brentwood College School, was a coach with the CanAmMex team.

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