Rowing

Coaching Staff
Laryssa Biesenthal
Debbie Sage
Robyn Amiel
Brian Carr
Mark Wismer
Allan Wood

The internationally renowned Brentwood Rowing Club started by Tony Carr and John Queen, has a highly distinguished history that has produced 23 Olympians, including three gold medalists, and has had alumni appear in eleven straight Olympic games. More recent results include Malcolm Howard (Class of 2001) who was a member of Canada's gold medal winning men's eight in Beijing in 2008 as well as the silver medal winning eight in London in 2012. Scott Frandsen (Class of 1998) teamed up with fellow alum David Calder (Class of 1996) to win the silver medal in the men's pair in Beijing in 2008. Brentwood's medal total was good enough to finish 54th out of 204 countries!

View a list of Brentonians Rowing at the Olympics...

Each year the club hosts the Brentwood International Rowing Regatta entering its 48th year in 2018. This international event attracts teams from all parts of Canada, and the United State and from as far away as Mexico, and Australia. In the past, it has also had teams from as far away as Europe and Asia. In 2017, there were in excess of 4,000 people in attendance including over 1,700 athletes and coaches, and over 500 volunteers. All this showcases student-athletes in world-class racing in over 170 races, down the 1,500 metre course every 7 minutes for 23 hours over 3 days!

Putting rowers on the world stage:

  • 23 Olympians,
  • Over 200 Grads have gone on to row at Universities like Princeton, Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, California Berkeley, Washington, UVIC, UBC, Virginia, Duke, Brown, Northeastern, Penn
  • Over 80 scholarships including Princeton, Harvard, Washington, California Berkeley, Duke, Virginia, Tulsa, Iowa, Indiana, Syracuse, Penn, Northeastern, Michigan, Texas
  • Over $12,000,000 in scholarships has been rewarded to Brentwood rowers
  • Grads have competed in 104 Under 23 or Senior World Championships
  • Grads have competed in 78 World Cup Regattas since 1999
  • 17 Brentwood grads have represented Canada at the Under 23 level since 2001
  • Brentwood grads have been on the junior world teams in Canada (64), United States (3) and Germany (2) since 1976

The History of Rowing at Brentwood

Brentwood rowing attracts enthusiastic athletes who are interested in learning to row, or in further developing their skill, endurance, and performance on the water. A coaching staff that includes the 2007 North American Junior Coach of the Year, and a two-time Olympian from the women's team. Facilities include an indoor rowing tank, an enviably equipped boathouse, a large erg room with 40 ergometres, and an expanse of ocean: it is not surprising that our athletes continue to add hardware and glory to a program that has produced more than 120 national championships in the last 50 years. Brentwood sends crews to all of the local regattas, more often than not, to Opening Day and Head of the Lake in Seattle, as well as the Head of the Charles in Boston, USA.

Rick Mercer visits the Brentwood Rowing Program

Rowing at Brentwood College in Mill Bay BC

Each May, select crews also have a chance to travel to the Canadian High School Championships in St Catharines, Ontario. Brentwood has attended the famous Royal Henley Regatta in England several times, winning the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup in 1996. In 2007, the Brentwood crew lost in the final by a foot, which was considered by Rowing News, as the 'Race of the Year'.

In the last 40 years, Brentwood rowers have left the school to attend some of the top universities in the world. These include the top schools in Canada, University of Washington, University of California Berkeley, and all the top Ivy League schools in the United States. Three students continued their studies to Oxford and Cambridge. Rowing is open to all male and female athletes. Training is also available for coxswains.

Rowing News

Brentwood Logo
Students rowing in a pair
Brentwood Blades in the water
Rowing in Mill Bay
The mens 8 on the water
A student rowing

Debbie Sage

B.A. (Trent), Science Lab Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Rowing

Where else to develop a love of rowing but in St. Catharines, Ontario, where Debbie Sage spent her youth before moving to Trent University to continue rowing and earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in history and business. Joining the Brentwood rowing staff in 1997, Mrs. Sage also serves as the science lab technician, and Chair of the Brentwood Regatta. Considered one of the luckiest people on earth by her friends ("being paid to do something you love so much!"), Mrs. Sage spends her free time with her husband, Peter, and two children.

Robyn Amiel

Robyn Amiel

B.A. (UVic), M.Ed. (Washington State), Social Studies, Rowing

After moving around Canada and living on several military bases, Robyn and her family settled back in Victoria to embrace coastal living and to be closer to extended family. After rowing for the University of Victoria and for various provincial teams, Mrs Amiel graduated with a Bachelor of History and went on to pursue a career in hospitality management. Managing a guest services department at a ski resort proved to be short-lived, as the lure of Brentwood was enticing. After coaching rowing and teaching social studies at the school for three years, Mrs Amiel took a short hiatus to coach collegiate, varsity rowing and complete her Masters of Education degree in curriculum and instruction at Washington State University. Since returning in 2012, Mrs Amiel enjoys coaching the senior boys and for Rowing BC and Rowing Canada at the U21 level during the summer months.  She is also excited to be back at Brentwood in the social studies department. She enjoys living in Whittall House with Mr Amiel and their son.

Brian Carr

Brian Carr

B.A. (Victoria)  Social Studies, Rowing

Born in Bulawayo, Rhodesia, Mr. Carr came to Canada in 1964 with his parents and little brother, Rory. The Carr family moved onto the Brentwood campus in the fall of 1965 where the senior Mr. Carr served as Houseparent for 19 years. After Brentwood, Mr. Carr attended the University of Washington as a rower and fledgling geographer. Graduation from the University of Victoria brought him back to the Cowichan Valley where he taught at Frances Kelsey Secondary School before answering his primal urge to return to Brentwood. A busy member of the Social Studies Department, Mr. Carr is also a coach of the Brentwood College Rowing Club. Mr. Carr's wife, Leslie Reid Carr, teaches Spanish and French at the school and is the houseparent of Allard House. Together they have two children.

Mark Wismer

Mark Wismer

B.A. (McGill), B.Ed. (Ottawa) Houseparent ­Ellis House, Social Studies, Government, Rowing

Mark Wismer grew up on beautiful Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world. It was here in this idyllic setting that he first developed his interest in teaching from his mother, also a teacher. Mr. Wismer graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and Human Geography from McGill University. During his time at McGill, he was introduced to the sport of rowing and joined the varsity team for the last three years of his degree. After graduation, he moved out west to hone his rowing skills on Elk Lake, Victoria, a well-known training ground for the top rowers in the country. It was during this time that Mr. Wismer first joined the Brentwood community, working as an intern. Called back to the East, he returned to Montreal and got married to his wife: current part-time nurse Ulrika Drevniok. Curiously enough, when the couple first met, Mrs. Drevniok was being coached by Brentonian Dave Calder (1996), a silver medal Olympian. While in Montreal he coached rowing at McGill and served as the Head Coach of the rowing club for one year. In 2008, the Wismers moved to Ottawa where he completed his education degree at the University of Ottawa. We were pleased to welcome Mr. Wismer formally to our school in September 2009 where he is Assistant Houseparent in Ellis House and teaching in the Social Studies department when he isn't coaching rowing. He and his wife have also added two wonderful children – Cormac and Stella Maris - to the Brentwood family.

Laryssa Biesenthal

Laryssa Biesenthal - Head of Rowing

ChPC, Level 4 National Coaching Certificate, Head of Rowing

Laryssa is a decorated athlete and coach. She represented Canada at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympic Games where, in both cases, she earned bronze medals. As a coach, she has worked with crews at high school, university, World Championship, and Olympic (for both Canada and Australia) levels. Her coaching success includes a world championship, World Cup medals, and Olympic Games finals. With this experience and her Level 4 Canadian National Coaching Certification, Laryssa brings a breadth and depth of experience to our already talented coaching staff.

Brentonians Rowing at the Olympics

Name

Graduating Year

# of Olympic Games

Yr of Olympic Games

Medal winners

Ned Pratt

1930

1

1936

Bronze 1936

Jim Henniger

1973

1

1976


Pat Walter

1977

3

1980
1984
1988


Bruce Ford

Left in 1970

3

1980
1984
1988

Bronze 1984

Marius Felix

1977

1

1980


Blair Horn

1979

1

1984

Gold 1984

David Ross

1981

2

1984
1988


Tim Christian

1980

1

1984


Paul Tessier

1974

1

1984


Harold Backer

1980

3

1984
1988
1992


Tan Barkley

1983

1

1984


Jamie Schafer

1983

1

1988


Sarah Ogilvie

1977

1

1988


Darren Barber

1987

2

1992
1996

Gold 1992

Jennifer Browett

1990

1

2000


Morgan Crooks

1994

1

2000


David Calder

1996

4

2000
2004
2008
2012

Silver 2008

Tom Herschmiller

1996

2

2000
2004

Silver 2004

Kevin White

1996

1

2000


Scott Frandsen

1998

3

2004
2008
2012

Silver 2008

Jamie Faris

2000

1

2008


Malcolm Howard –

2001

2

2008
2012

Gold 2008
Silver 2012

22 Olympians


83 years of Brentwood Rowing

37 Olympic Regattas


3 – Gold
4 – Silver
2 - Bronze

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