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Island rowers race to national titles in North Cowichan

Quamichan Lake in North ­Cowichan was the venue over the weekend but Serbia next September was the goal.
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Canadian Olympian Carling Zeeman gets a kiss from her dog Lola at the finish line Sunday at Quamichan Lake. KEVIN LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY

Quamichan Lake in North ­Cowichan was the venue over the weekend but Serbia next September was the goal.

Less than a year out from the 2023 world rowing ­championships, which are the main qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics, top Canadian rowers stated their case for ­consideration to be in Belgrade next summer.

It looks to be a veteran team readying for Belgrade, and eventually Paris 2024, as several familiar faces made their way to the winner’s circle during the Canadian championships on Quamichan Lake which featured more than 250 rowers from 45 clubs. The rowing at nationals is conducted in small boats, singles or pairs, to give coaches a better handle on evaluating individual strengths.

University of Victoria Vikes graduate Avalon Wasteneys of Campbell River and Brentwood College-graduate Sydney Payne of Mill Bay, both gold medallists in the Tokyo Olympics with the Canadian eights crew, won the Kathleen Heddle and Marnie McBean Plate as women’s pair champions.

Olympian Jakub Buczek and Curtis Ames won the George Hungerford and Roger Jackson Trophy as men’s pair champions.

The trophies are named after Canadian rowing legends.

Olympian Carling Zeeman, who is also a paramedic on the Island, was the Silken Laumann Plate winner as women’s singles champion and Liam Smit the Derek Porter Trophy ­champion as winner of the men’s single.

In other notable results, Olympian Jill Moffatt won the Wendy Wiebe Trophy in the lightweight women’s single and Emerson Crick the Brian Thorne Trophy for the lightweight men’s single.

In the future-watch category, Cait Whittard was named winner of the Bobby Pearce Award for female junior rower of the year and Lucas Maroney and Owen Bartel were the co-recipients of the Jack Guest Award for top junior male.

The national rowing team, located for four decades on Elk Lake, is now centralized at ­Quamichan Lake.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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