Weekend Wrap: Ridley College Hosts 24 Hour Relay for Mathew Szymanowski
News/ Jan 27

Weekend Wrap: Ridley College Hosts 24 Hour Relay for Mathew Szymanowski

On Friday, Jan. 24 Ridley College Rowing hosted a 24-hour relay to raise awareness and support for rowing alumnus Mathew Szymanowski, who was injured in a serious bike accident in August of last year.

Shim or Shimee, as Szymanowski is known to friends and teammates, suffered a serious spinal injury in the accident, which took place while he was cycling on Aug. 13 in Victoria, BC.

Szymanowski was an instrumental part of Ridley College’s resurgence in rowing and became known within rowing circles for his toughness and calm demeanour. He invested countless hours into rowing over his eight years in the sport while continuing to excel academically in school. Originally from Kitchener, Ont., Szymanowski got his start in rowing at Cambridge Rowing Club before attending Ridley College where he would go on to a decorated high school career. He was a highly recruited student-athlete and enrolled in the University in Victoria where he rowed for four years starting in 2014. Szymanowski won national championships with the Vikes in 2016 and 2017 and competed for Canada at the U23 World Rowing Championships in 2018.

In organizing the 24-hour relay, Ridley College’s goal was for the community to pull together and show Szymanowski continued support through his recovery and in the process raise awareness about the significant financial burden on the Szymanowski family. Nearly 150 students, faculty, and staff demonstrated grit and perseverance in rowing for 24 hours straight.

To aid with both current and future medical and travel expenses, a Go Fund Me page has been created and to date has raised just over $53,000 of the $100,000 goal. To help support Matt and the Szymanowski family, please visit the Go Fund Me page at the below link:


RCA Hosts 2020 Annual Conference

Rowing Canada Aviron brought the country together over in Ottawa over the weekend for the 2020 National Conference.

With over 140 delegates in attendance, the conference began on Friday, Jan. 24 with a keynote address on the Future of Mental Health in High Performance Sport by Dr. Tom Patrick, the Senior Manager of High Performance at the NSW Institute of Sport in Sydney, Australia. A continued focus on all stakeholder’s mental health, gender equity in sport and issues regarding Safe Sport were just some of the important and relevant topics discussed in sessions throughout the weekend.

RCA also doled out some hardware over the weekend, honouring the Canada’s top rowers, coaches, umpires, clubs and volunteers at the 2019 Excellence Awards gala on Saturday night. Ontario award winners who were honoured at the event included:

2019 Excellence Award Winners

  • Argonaut Rowing Club – Club Outstanding Achievement Award
  • Kevin Boyes (St. Catharines Rowing Club) – Volunteer of the Year Award
  • William Donegan (Argonaut Rowing Club) – Umpire of the Year
  • Mary Rao (St. Catharines Rowing Club / Brock University) – Jack Nicholson Coaching Bursary

Long Service Awards

  • George Gage (Leander Boat Club – 50 years
  • Mel LaForme (Leander Boat Club) – 50 years
  • Swede Burak (St. Catharines Rowing Club / Brock University) – 45 years
  • Tom Kent (St. Catharines Rowing Club / Brock University) – 45 years
  • Kurt Herman (Ottawa Rowing Club) – 25 years
  • Bob Ralph (St. Catharines Rowing Club) – 20 years
  • Meredith Petrychanko (St. Catharines Rowing Club) – 15 years

For a full list of award winners please visit the RCA Website.