Voting Opens for Row Ontario’s Performance of the Year Award
Announcement/ Feb 9

Voting Opens for Row Ontario’s Performance of the Year Award


Voting for Row Ontario’s Performance of the Year Award is now open and features a group of seven nominees who had outstanding performances in 2023!

The Performance of the Year Award, which made its debut as part of the Row Ontario Awards Program last year, recognizes an outstanding performance in a regatta by a member or members of the Ontario rowing community. The outstanding performance in a regatta may be held in Ontario or elsewhere.

The winner of the Performance of the Year Award is chosen by an online vote. So, it’s up to YOU to decide the winner!

The nominees and a description of their outstanding performances are found below. Read through the nominees and cast your vote below! Voting is open to everyone in the Ontario rowing community. Please limit one vote per person.

Voting for the Performance of the Year award will close on Thursday, Feb. 15. The winner of the Performance of the Year Award will be announced along with the rest of the 2023 Row Ontario Award winners on Friday, Feb. 16. Don’t miss your chance to vote!

Nominees

Zoe and Isabella Durcak

Club: Leander Boat Club
Regatta: Royal Canadian Henley Regatta
Results: U23 LW2- – Gold

As sisters, friends, and teammates, Zoe and Isabella’s dedication and determination were evident as they competed in five races within Henley week, showcasing their versatility and commitment to excellence. They had an exceptional performance at the Royal Canadian Henley as together they earned Henley Gold in the highly competitive U23 Lightweight Women’s Pair. Throughout the 2023 season, Zoe and Isabella displayed unparalleled dominance in the pair, going undefeated and establishing themselves as the crew to beat.

Their impressive performance at Henley extended beyond their primary boat, securing a third-place finish in the U23 Lightweight Women’s Double and a close second in the U23 Lightweight Women’s Four, showcasing their versatility across different boat categories. What sets Zoe and Isabella apart is not just their on-water success but also their role as positive team leaders. Their unwavering encouragement of teammates and their positive influence on younger athletes at Leander and other clubs make them exemplary sports figures. Their commitment to fostering a culture of hard work and camaraderie is commendable and contributes significantly to the overall atmosphere of the senior team and Leander community. Their consistent success and contributions to the sport go beyond individual victories, of which they have many!

Sophie Corradini and Katrina Miehlbradt

Club: Argonaut Rowing Club/U of T Varsity Blues (Rowing under West End Rowing Club)
Regatta: Head of the Charles
Results: Women’s Championship 2x – 1st place in Lwt division, 2nd place overall

Sophie and Katrina were both 4-year varsity rowers at the University of Toronto from 2019-2023, as well as teammates at the Argonaut Rowing Club, and have been rowing the lightweight double together since 2019. Due to current living situations this was the first summer they were unable to train together. This fall, Katrina’s home club, West End Rowing Club in New Zealand got an entry in the Championship 2x at Charles and Sophie and Katrina were chosen as the crew for that entry. Katrina was able to fly back to Ontario and train with Sophie for two weeks prior to Head of the Charles. Despite the limited preparations, they placed first in the lightweight division and second overall, beating all but one open weight entry (which was comprised of national team athletes).

This is a remarkable achievement for a fresh-out-of university Under-23 crew and is a testament to their many years of training and development in that combination as U of T and Argos athletes. These women are exemplary of what a crew can look like with hard work, dedication and a true understanding of what it means to be on a team with someone else.

Stephen Harris

Club: Brock University
Regatta: National Rowing Championships
Results: LM1x – Gold

It was an impressive, and busy, six weeks in the Fall of 2023 for Stephen Harris. On the weekend of Sept. 29-30, Harris competed at the National Rowing Championships in North Cowichan, BC and kicked off his whirlwind rowing odyssey by becoming the national champion in the men’s lightweight single in an impressive performance. Following NRC’s he put in the last bit of training for the 2023 Pan Am Games and headed to Santiago Chile, where he and his lightweight doubles crewmate Emerson Crick finished their regatta with a fifth place finish in the A Final on Oct. 24. He returned to Canada in time to watch his teammates at Brock University compete at the OUA Championships, and returned to the boat with them a couple of weeks later at CURC on Nov. 10-12 in Burnaby, BC. He ended his rowing journey with two gold medals in the lightweight men’s double and coxed four respectively. Not a bad six weeks!

Sarah Pidgen

Club: Don Rowing Club
Regatta: World Rowing Indoor Championships – VERSA Challenge
Results: 7th place overall

Sarah qualified for the new VERSA Challenge category and competed with class, positivity and success in front of a hometown crowd at the 2023 World Rowing Indoor Championships in Mississauga on Feb. 25-26, 2023. The field of competition was very high and included 10 top performers from all across the globe. Sarah was 1 of 2 Canadians competing and put in the top Canadian performance finishing 7th overall across 5 events and accumulating 30 points in a tight international field.

Sarah also was a great ambassador and spokesperson in the lead up to the event making a presentation with race organizer to the Mayor and City Council about the importance and value of hosting this event in Mississauga, Ontario and Canada. Sarah continues to be a trailblazer promoting the VERSA challenge in every conversation and “mixing things” up a bit as she says. She has once again qualified for the VERSA category and will be heading to the 2024 World Rowing Indoor Championships in Prague. In 2023, Sarah was selected to represent Canada in the 2023 World Rowing Beach Sprint Championships and has performed at a very high level in every competition in Beach Sprints as well. She is an asset to Ontario rowing in two new emerging disciplines and can most easily be described as a ‘Trailblazer’ in the sport of rowing.

Elizabeth Najjar

Club: Don Rowing Club
Regatta: Row Ontario Championships
Results: Women’s 1x – Gold

Elizabeth Najjar’s raced in the women’s 1x event at the Row Ontario Championships and won the gold medal. An outstanding achievement every year, made even more impressive by the fact that Elizabeth is only 16! As a U17 rower, she demonstrated exceptional skill and determination by winning the entire event which consisted of over 85 competitors.

Elizabeth at the age 16 won the event beating out U17, U19, U23, and Senior Rowers, winning four gold medals in one race. Her performance is a testament to her hard work and dedication she was able to sprint ahead of the pack in the last 1000 meters opening up her margin to 3 seconds over second place. Elizabeth’s accomplishment in this race is a source of inspiration for other young rowers and an outstanding achievement!

Alida Kingswood

Regatta: 2023 World Rowing Indoor Championships
Results: World Record – 90-94 W 2000m Category

Competing in front of an adoring  crowd at the 2023 World Rowing Indoor Championships (WRICH 2023) at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga, Ont. 91-year-old, Alida Kingswood (Woodstock, Ont.) shattered the world record in the lightweight women’s 90-94 2000m category, crossing the finish line in a time of 10:33.30. Kingswood bested the previous world record of 12:07.50 by over 90 seconds.

“I do this for my children and my grandchildren,” said Kingswood after her record setting race. “I always tell them I’m not a mother who does crafts or bakes cookies. I like to compete and work hard. I want to leave them with something that inspires them.”

Competing for the first time as a lightweight and for the first time in-person at a WRICH, Kingswood came out of the gates strong and held a steady pace throughout the first 1000m. As fatigue set in over the second half of the race, Kingswood was helped to the finish line by the cheering spectators as she pushed hard in search of the world record. A favourite among the crowd and her fellow competitors, Kingswood acknowledged the audience support with a thumbs up following the race and was greeted with congratulations by her fellow competitors and a standing ovation by the enthusiastic crowd on Saturday morning as she cooled down. What a performance!

Queen’s Gaels Women’s Rowing

Regatta: 2023 OUA Championships
Results: 1st place overall – OUA Championship Banner

The Queen’s Gaels women’s rowing team earned an impressive upset victory at the 2023 OUA Championship. The Gaels jumped out to an early lead in the points standings and delivered consistent and medal-winning performances throughout the two-day event, snapping a run of nine consecutive OUA women’s rowing championships for the Western Mustangs. The banner-winning performance marked the 13th OUA championship for Queen’s in women’s rowing and first since 2012. After performing well during the heats on Friday, the Queen’s varsity women were dominant from start to finish on Saturday. They earned medals in each of the ten events, with four gold, three silver and three bronze, with their four gold medals being the most among the women’s varsity programs, and finished with a total of 496 points, 88 points ahead of second-place Western.

Cast Your Vote Below!

Voting has now closed.