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Canadian men's and women's rowing eights advance to world championship finals

The Canadian crew advanced straight to the final on Sunday

It’s too early to herald it a return to glory. Yet it’s an encouraging sign for the Island-based Canadian men’s eight to have advanced to the final at the 2022 world rowing championships in the Racice, Czech Republic.

The Canadian crew advanced straight to the final on Sunday, avoiding the draining repechage route, after winning its preliminary qualifying race this week.

“There is a lot of excitement and I think this moment has been coming for a while,” said crewmember Peter Lancashire of Victoria, out of Brentwood College and the University of Washington Huskies.

“Going straight to the final is obviously a blessing but it also comes with a set of challenges,” added Lancashire, in a statement.

“There is a lot of time to kill but there is a lot of progress you can make during that time, too.”

The Canadian men’s eight came out of Elk Lake to win Olympic gold medals at Los Angeles in 1984, Barcelona in 1992, Beijing in 2008 and silver at London in 2012. That was followed by a down period in which Canada could not muster enough pullers to even enter a men’s eight at the Rio 2016 or Tokyo 2020 Olympics. But this once-dynastic Canadian category is being resurrected.

Meanwhile, the Island-based defending Tokyo Olympic-champion Canadian women’s eight placed second in its preliminary qualifying race behind the U.S. to also advance to the final Sunday.

“There is a lot of trust and confidence in this crew and I’m excited to see what we can bring on Sunday,” said crew member Morgan Rosts.

Returnees from the Tokyo Olympic-champion women’s eight crew include University of Victoria Vikes graduate Avalon Wasteneys of Campbell River, Sydney Payne of Mill Bay, Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski and coxswain Kristen Kit. Newcomers to the boat are Kirsten Edwards and Alexis Cronk, both from the UVic Vikes, Rosts out of the NCAA Div. 1 University of Virginia Cavaliers and Jessica Sevick and Gabrille Smith, the latter two sixth in the double at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Canadian teams trained over the summer at Quamichan Lake, Shawnigan Lake and Elk Lake to prepare for the worlds.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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