Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens are the 2018 world champions in the women’s coxless pair. Rowing Canada/Merijn Soeters

Vikes rower Filmer wins gold at world championships

Caileigh Filmer, Hillary Janssens gold in women's pair

University of Victoria Vikes rower Caileigh Filmer is a gold medal world champion as Filmer and teammate Hillary Janssens captured first in the women’s coxless pair at the 2018 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, on Sunday.

Canada’s boat of Filmer and Janssens defeated the reigning world champions and world best time holders, Prendergast and Gowler, of New Zealand. The Kiwis hit the 500-metre mark a fraction ahead of Canada with Janssens and Filmer edged ahead at the 1,000m mark. Canada clung to their lead in a sprint finish.

Canada also won gold in the women’s eight boat of Rebecca Zimmerman, Jennifer Martins, Susanne Grainger, Madison Mailey, Stephanie Grauer, Christine Roper, Sydney Payne, Lisa Roman and coxswain Kristen Kit, as well as gold in the para-rowing PR3 men’s pair (Andrew Todd and Kyle Fredrickson) and silver in the PR2 men’s single (Jeremy Hall).

“It is such an amazing feeling to finally achieve exactly what we had been imagining – racing against the world’s best and winning,” Janssens said. “We knew it would be tight with New Zealand. We put in a lot of work improving our last 500m and knew we had it in us to row out in front.”

Janssens’s and Filmer’s finish time of 6:50.67 sets a new Canadian record at a world rowing event, besting the previous time of 6:54.68 set by Darcy Marquardt and Jane Thornton in 2006. Janssens’s and Filmer’s Sunday performance was only a second off the world record.

The win completes a massively successful rowing season for Filmer and Janssens, who won gold at the World Cup 1 in Belgrade, Serbia, and silver at World Cup 3 in Lucerne, Switzerland.

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