From the ONGPC Athlete’s Perspective
News/ Jul 9

From the ONGPC Athlete’s Perspective


Find out what some of the ONGPC athletes have to say about their first ten months training at the ONGPC.


In September of 2020, the Ontario NextGen Performance Centre opened its doors for the first time and the first group of athletes to train at the Centre dipped their oars in the Welland Canal.

It’s been an interesting ten months of growth and development for the athletes who train at the Centre, complete with some personal best performances, training challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new indoor training facility, and significant improvements both on and off the water. As we head into the summer here’s what some of the ONGPC athletes have to say about their first ten months training at the ONGPC:

In what ways have you improved as a rower since you joined the ONGPC?

Isabella Durcak: Stoney Creek, Ont. / Leander Boat Club
Since I’ve joined the ONGPC I’ve improved a ton on the erg and on the water. I’ve also improved my overall knowledge of training as a high-level athlete and thanks to the coaching my tech has improved a lot. I’ve also taken off a ton of time on the erg for my 2km and my 6km.

Cait Whittard: St. Catharines, Ont. / St. Catharines Rowing Club
Since starting at the ONGPC I’ve improved my strength through strength training on the erg and on the water. I think for me, ever since we started the strength training is where I saw my major improvements and it carried over to my personal best on the erg in the winter and also getting faster on the water.

Abbey Maillet: Dundas, Ont. / Leander Boat Club and Laurentian University
This year being at the ONGPC I believe I’ve gained more confidence as a rower. I’ve developed more knowledge in the sport of rowing and I’m also believing in myself more. The coaching staff and teammates here at the Centre are very encouraging and they continue to push me past my limits.

Describe what a typical day is like in the ONGPC daily training environment?

Lucas Maroney: Welland, Ont. / Notre Dame Rowing Club
A typical day varies between two rows. We usually have one in the morning and it’s usually a 90- or 100-minute row. Then in the afternoon we have another one from around 5-7pm. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we also have weight sessions, with our weight coaches to get all the work in.

Abbey Maillet
It’s kind of funny, but I like to think of my typical day at the Centre as an eat, sleep, row, repeat lifestyle. But I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. The environment here at the ONGPC is competitive, but we still have a lot of fun. My teammates constantly push me on and off the water and I try to do the same to them.

What have been some of the high points or most memorable moments for you so far training at the ONGPC?

Isabella Durcak
I would say the most memorable moment at the ONGPC was coming back to the Centre after the lockdown in the winter. Just coming back to a whole new gym and top of the line equipment with brand new weights, bikes, and ergs. And also, just getting the opportunity to train with everyone again just because it’s so much easier to push yourself and everyone is so welcoming and supportive.

Cait Whittard
My most memorable moment so far was my PB at the Canadian Indoors. I think for me it was just training hard throughout the fall and all the work I put in had finally come together and to see an improvement after a long time it felt really good.

Lucas Maroney
One of my most memorable moments was going sub-7 on my 2km. It was one of my top priorities and the coaches helped me with that and accomplishing my goal. I was very proud of myself to receive that PB donut after I was done, and I was just so thrilled and thankful for the coaches and the training.

What are you most looking forward to this summer about training at the ONGPC?

Cait Whittard
I’m most looking forward to continuing to train with those around me and pushing each other. It’s been a great start to the summer so far, it’s been a lot of fun. We started out with some 2km’s on the water and I’m looking forward to keeping racing each other and having some fun.

Abbey Maillet
This summer my focus is just to improve on myself on the water. I’ve trained really hard this past winter so now I just want to transfer everything I’ve learned onto the water. And I’m also excited to do some 2km prep and be in some doubles.

Lucas Maroney
I’m excited to see what the coaches have for me to improve and I’m just looking forward to seeing how fast I can become as a rower. Also, it’s very nice to have so many awesome people around and look forward to and compete against and push ourselves to be the best that we can be. I’m constantly looking forward and I’m waking up every day just ready to row. Ready to compete.

What’s the best part about being a part of this training group and training at the ONGPC?

Cait Whittard
The best part about being a part of the ONGPC for me is that I get to train with others around me who have similar goals and want to work hard and be their best every day. It’s a really good environment, everyone knows when to be serious but also knows when to have fun. I love it a lot, everyone is super supportive and that makes everything go super well.

Lucas Maroney
I would say the best part of this training group is just how high of a performance level it is. It’s also very open to talk to people. It’s competitive but the other aspect of it is we’re all friends. We’re all just trying to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. Having the people to push yourself is really exciting because you never really know your limits until you push them and just having people along that ride with you is really nice.

Abbey Maillet
The best part about being a part of the training group would have to be the atmosphere. Everybody comes with a purpose and that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter about your age, your height, your weight, we’re all here to be better, faster rowers. I’ve really enjoyed my time here at the Centre and the entire coaching staff, the amazing facility and the resources have made it a really positive experience for me.

Isabella Durcak
The best part about the ONGPC is definitely just the whole atmosphere. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging and welcoming, and everyone just works really hard. We all have the same mindset that we want to get better. It makes the workouts a lot easier to push yourself and a lot more fun to be around everyone.


Athletes can now apply to become either a centralized or regional athlete with the ONGPC for the September 2021 intake. Development athletes aged 15-19 years (including Ontario provincial team, NextGen, and other development athletes) who have aspirations to row at the national team level are the target group for the ONGPC, but exceptions to those demographics can be made based on where athletes are in their development and their experience in rowing.

To apply to train at the ONGPC, please visit the below link. The deadline to apply is Sunday, July 11:

Ontario NextGen Performance Centre Application Form

More information on the ONGPC’s benefits, goals, objectives and athlete development pathway can be found at the below link:

Ontario NextGen Performance Centre Information