Brentwood College School’s rowing program stormed back onto the national stage last weekend, collecting two gold medals, three silvers and three bronzes at the 2022 Canadian Secondary School Rowing Association Regatta in St. Catharines, Ont.
There was no overall points title awarded this year, in the annual event’s return after two years lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Brentwood was among the top schools at the regatta regardless.
“I can’t remember the last time we won that many medals, but it has been a while,” said Brian Carr, Brentwood’s self-described “interim recycled head of rowing,” who has been coaching at the school for the last 25 years, in addition to a stint in the late 1980s.
Brentwood made 14 finals, with two boats qualifying for the final in the junior men’s lightweight coxed quad. Of 45 rowers who travelled to Ontario, 41 came home with hardware. Only three of the 45 Brentwood rowers had attended nationals previously, as Grade 9 students in 2019, and 37 of them had no rowing experience prior to this school year.
Brentwood boats finished first in the junior women’s four (Veronica Lam, Luise Hitzbleck, Novella Rusman, Florence Therrien and Annika Maiorino) and junior women’s 8+ (Coral Gunn, Katelyn Myint, Rowan Van Dender, Luise Hitzbleck, Veronica Lam, Charli Svendson, Novella Rusman, Florence Therrien and Annika Maiorino).
The school added second-place results in the junior men’s lightweight four (Felix Dorward, Paolo Freccia, Nathan Carter, Peter Dryden and Nicholas Eckenstein), junior men’s eight (William Hawkins, Peter Dryden, Gleb Smadych, Connor Wood, Paolo Freccia, Felix Dorward, MacKenzie Morgan and Cassidy Nguyen) and senior women’s eight (Madison Bell, Liza Merck, Sasha Holub, Anika Ewashko, Lauren Carter, Emilia Von Oppen, Chloe Hockin, Felicity Berz and Edward Lalonde).
Bronze medals came in the senior women’s quad (Felicity Berz, Chloe Hockin, Lauren Carter and Anika Ewashko), junior women’s coxed quad (Sydney Goodall, Megan Cheng, Emma Kammann, Sam Kronis and Abbigail Wallace) and junior men’s lightweight eight (Isaac Koontz, Luke O’Connor, Hugo Sastre, Andrew Kim, Kevin Oh, Marcus Hogan, Sebastian Ellis-Gray, Finn Dahlstrom and Nicholas Eckenstein).
Brentwood also placed fourth and fifth in the junior men’s lightweight coxed quad, fourth in the novice women’s eight, fifth in the senior men’s four, and sixth in the senior men’s lightweight double and senior single.
Most of Brentwood’s medals were won by junior rowers who will be eligible to compete again next year, setting up a bright future for the program.
“The foundation of the group is there, with our junior group winning two gold, two silver and two bronze medals against stiff competition,” Carr said. “With our new head of rowing [David Calder] coming in this July, we won’t be starting from scratch. He’ll have something to work with.”
Beyond his team’s success, Carr was simply pleased to get back to the CSSRA Regatta after so long.
“It was great to get back to the national stage again,” Carr said. “The west coast was so well represented by those teams we have been competing against all year.”
One of those other west coat teams, of course, was Shawnigan Lake School, which had plenty of success of its own, with 11 of 16 boats reaching finals.
Shawnigan won silver medals in the junior men’s four (Bruneau Fulton, Christian Lamotte, Kyle Brown, Arden Acton and Lukas Nolan) and double (Martin Hussey and JD Pickens) and senior women’s four (Kate Rowsthorn, Alessandra Tuttle, Wynne Anderson-Lindsay, Dailynn Middlemiss and Maya Monroy), as well as placing fourth in the senior men’s four and junior men’s eight, fifth in the junior women’s coxed quad, senior men’s single and senior men’s lightweight four, and sixth in the junior women’s four and senior men’s lightweight single.
“We had a successful trip with some really positive experiences for most of our crews,” Shawnigan head of rowing Julie Platt said. “We can’t measure the success of the event so much by medals as so many kids truly pushed their limits and in some cases went way beyond what they thought they were capable of. It bodes well for years to come. Over the course of the weekend, much was learned.
“It was so great to get back to St. Catharines after three long years and get back to racing.”