Rowers from across the Okanagan scored historic podium finishes at the Rowing B.C. provincial championships.
Held on a 2,000-metre course on Burnaby Lake from July 21-23, the Vernon Rowing and Dragon Boat Club (VRDBC) seized champion titles at the U19 men’s single, U17 women’s single and U17 women’s quad events along with five other podium places.
The VRDBC distinguished itself with Jonas Masys becoming the provincial champion in U19 men’s single event. Elena Masyte of VRDBC scored a bronze medal in women’s lightweight single.
VRDBC’s Sierra Munroe and Cora Van Vliet also put on robust performances, taking second and third place in the U17 and U19 women’s single events respectively.
In the U17 women’s single category, the Okanagan/Thompson team completely dominated the podium. Aida Mills of Salmon Arm claimed the champion regalia, while Kelowna’s Kiersten Bereska secured the third spot.
Oleksii Lupan and Kate Kulig of Kelowna finished fifth in their respective single scull races.
Composite quadruple scull teams showcased the strength of cooperation in the region.
Aida Mills, Heidi Miege (both Salmon Arm), Kiersten Bereska (Kelowna), and Sierra Munroe (VRDBC) finished first in the U17 Women’s event. The men’s crew, including Jonas Masys (VRDBC), Ian VanBergeyk (Salmon Arm), Nolan Stiven (VRDBC), and Bentley Schipfel (Salmon Arm), placed second. The women’s open crew featuring Elena Masyte, Cora Van Vliet (both VRDBC), Kate Kulig (Kelowna) and Annika Van Vliet (VRDBC), finished fifth.
The University of Victoria athletes and VRDBC graduates, Danica and Natalya Ariano, continued to be formidable competitors, with Natalya finishing second in the Women’s Single category, and the pair securing first place in the women’s four and women’s eight categories.
A heartwarming highlight of the event was the performance of Peter Masys of VRDBC, who at 13 was the youngest athlete in the event. After the time trials, Masys was placed into a semi-final with only one competitor, Richard Fergie of Terrace – an elite rower, who suffered an unfortunate accident during the time trial and ended up placing last.
Fergie, however, chose to patiently pace his young rival into a personal best of 9:00.980, becoming an example of true spirit of camaraderie in sports.