In 2013, Team Ontario raced down the Sherbrooke course to win first place in the men’s and 2nd place in the women’s overall team events for rowing at the Canada Summer Games. Two years later, ROWONTARIO is now looking to follow the success of the 2013 team by developing the athletes who will be representing Ontario at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Kenora, Ontario. The first of many Canada Games development camps was hosted at Henley Island in St. Catharines from August 10-12. Athletes and coaches from across Ontario were invited to take part in the opportunity to work with other high performance athletes and experts to develop skills necessary to reach the next level.
Each day began before 8am with coaches discussing the technical goals of the day; day 1 focused on body positioning through the drive while the next two days were focused on the stroke.
During their two daily on water sessions, the athletes committed to tackling their workouts with focus, ensuring that each stroke they took was quality. Coaches had athletes complete many drills during their workouts in an effort to create a uniform technique within the crews. Coach Matt Waddell said that the camp provided a “great opportunity to bring a lot of people together from different backgrounds to work on our national technique”. Athlete Miranda Leparskas was thrilled that she “that [her and the other athletes] got some different coaching and technique changes that will help with the training in the long run,” leading to 2017.
After the first on water session of the day, athletes and coaches participated in seminars about various aspects of high performance rowing, including proper stretching techniques, biomechanics of a poroper stroke, and stroke analysis. Coach Andrea Valois was enthusiastic about the gains that athletes made during both on-water and land-based sessions. She said, “it’s great to have so many athletes come together with a high performance mentality and continue to push each other”.
Each day wrapped up after 4:30pm, and athletes and coaches alike were exhausted but content from the intensive training. Technical Director Mike Purcer remained ecstatic about the progress of the athletes and coaches. “Both coaches and athletes worked very hard. It was a great time to practice fundamental skills while keeping the days fun and have athletes and coaches from many different clubs come together,” Purcer said.
The recent Canada Games Development Camp marks the beginning of a 18 month athlete and coach development plan leading into the selection progress that will see top athletes and coaches represent Team Ontario at the 2017 Canada Summer Games.