As the shouting and tumult from the 2012 London Summer Olympics subside, the slow but relentless buildup to Rio 2016 begins this weekend during the RBC national rowing championships on Elk Lake.
"This will be the first step as we build toward the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio," Peter Cookson, Rowing Canada high-performance director, said in a statement.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the depth of talent from across the country, and there should be some exciting racing this weekend."
With most of Canada's Olympians from London taking a breather and giving the nationals a pass, the way is clear for the ascending second tier to state its case on the waters of Elk Lake.
"This is definitely a step up for our guys," said University of Victoria Vikes men's head coach Howie Campbell.
"Even with most of the Olympians from London not racing, there is still good depth of field - especially in the U-23 up-and-coming category. This is a weekend to catch the eye of national team coaches."
The Vikes rowers - including CIS lightweight doubles champions Alex Walker and Lee Hall - will row under the B.C. team banner this weekend.
B.C. performers to watch from Rick Crawley's CIS-champion UVic women's program include the members of his CIS national champion Vikes eight and the CIS-champion lightweight double of Stefanie Miklosovic and Rachel Dennis.
The hosting club for the nationals is Vic City.
The podium placers this weekend will share in a prize purse of $20,000 from a private donation.
Racing will be conducted in singles and pairs boats. It starts this morning at 8 a.m. on Elk Lake through to the finals Sunday morning. The medal ceremonies are Sunday at 12: 30 p.m.
Weekend updates will be available via Twitter @rowingcanada.
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