More than 250 athletes from 37 different clubs and provincial associations vied for 21 coveted national championship titles this past weekend on Quamichan Lake during the 2023 Rowing Canada Aviron National Rowing Championships.
It was the second-straight year the event was held at Canadian rowing authority’s North Cowichan-based National Training Centre and champions were crowned in both singles and pairs events within the Senior, Para, Under-23 and Under-19 categories.
In the end, rowing powerhouse Rowing BC emerged as the Provincial Grand Champions, while Row Ontario earned the Provincial Efficiency award for their efforts.
It should come as no surprise that Rowing BC athletes were involved in many of the weekend’s standout moments.
Rowing BC’s Liam Smit, of Vancouver, was able to retain his title as national champion, once again claiming the Derek Porter Trophy as the winner of the Men’s Single Scull final. He finished just ahead of his Team Canada teammate Steven Rosts, who was competing for Row Ontario.
The recipient of the Silken Laumann Plate as the Women’s Single Scull final winner was Row Ontario’s Carling Zeeman, who beat out teammate Jennifer Casson for first place. It was Zeeman’s 10th national championship title.
Casson’s second-place finish is noteworthy as she’s typically a lightweight rower.
Rowing BC’s Katie Clark was the top British Columbian, finishing fourth in the Women’s Single Scull. All three women are part of the 2023 Canadian National Rowing Team, along with Rowing BC’s Caileigh Filmer of Victoria, who won this year’s Women’s Pair event with Team Canada teammate Piper Battersby, also of Victoria.
For their win, the duo received the Kathleen Heddle & Marnie McBean Trophy.
“We were together for two weeks coming into this and we were getting faster every day and I think Piper called a great race,” Filmer said. “We knew with the wind, that we had to be very technical. The wind was pretty similar throughout the championships, so we were able to learn and make new plans for each race. We knew that we wanted to make sure that we had some gas going into the second half and Piper kept us both very calm and then we were able to go when we had planned, so I’m really thrilled for us.”
The wind did cause some delays over the course of the weekend but all events were able to be contested without the need for racing on the spare day for inclement weather.
Rowing BC took top spot in the Men’s Pair as well as national team rower Joel Cullen finished first in the men’s pair event with partner Jack Walker. Their four-second victory earned them the George Hungerford & Roger Jackson Trophy.
Taking the Lagoa Rio Trophy as the winner of the Women’s PR1 Single Sculls final was Rowing BC’s Christa Akins, who overcame a rib injury to compete.
Rowing BC’s Patrick Levis won the Men’s PR2 Single Sculls event. Both Akins and Levis have competed for Canada on the international stage.
In the lightweight events, Giancarlo DiPompeo was the top B.C. finisher at second place in the Men’s Lightweight Single Sculls while Sai Sai Faubert took third overall in the women’s event.
Team Canada’s Jill Moffatt won the women’s Lightweight Single Sculls final and the accompanying Wendy Wiebe Trophy for Row Ontario while her teammate from back east Stephen Harris took the win on the men’s side, along with the Brian Thorne Trophy.
“Beyond the medals and records, the 2023 National Rowing Championships highlighted the spirit of sportsmanship and unity that defines rowing,” said a Rowing Canada Aviron statement. “Rowers from different backgrounds and provinces came together to celebrate their shared passion for the sport and solidify the nation’s rowing community that is truly united by water.”