Candidates for Canada

Sunday, September 29, 2019 - By: Fernando F, Whittall ‘21

Each year, rowers at Brentwood gather in the Foote Center to impress the Rowing Canada Aviron testers with our physical capabilities.

All candidates who are to qualify for the Canadian National Rowing Team (and most who don’t) are required to complete a cycling test under supervision from the National Rowing team staff. The athletes are also subjected to a full physical evaluation by both the coaches at Brentwood and the National rowing personnel.
Rowing has been an Olympic Sport since 1896 and it has been supported by Canada as one of our most successful summer sports. Rowing Canada Aviron was founded in 1880 in order to coordinate the sport of amateur rowing for young Canadians. The RCA is a member of both the Canadian Olympic, and Paralympic Committee, as well as the international federation for rowing (FISA). The non-profit organization searches Canada for top tier rowers to compete for the international team, regularly scheduling trips to Brentwood to seek out future Olympic athletes. Mr Brian Carr, one of the school’s informal oral historians, tells me that 23 old Brentonians rowed in the Olympics, 18 have rowed internationally for the World Cup Regatta, 40 Old Brentonians have rowed for the Rowing World Championships, and 70 Canadian Brentonians have rowed for the Junior World Championships.

On September 17, 18 and 20 various groups of rowers gathered in the ergometer room for their personal physical weigh-in and assessment. Each athlete began by recording their measurements - in terms of wingspan, height and weight - then each student was asked to report their best 2k (a 2000 meter rowing test performed on an indoor rowing machine) if they had one.

“I think that the coaches really helped give us a bit of a physical head start this year” varsity team member Thomas L, Rogers ‘20 declared.

Then, the hard part. The students were asked to climb aboard one of the eight stationary bikes. The RCA administrator gave a brief description about the workout as the students prepared their stopwatches. The test started out slowly, with the cyclists biking at a steady 45 RPM, but the required increase in RPM was immediate and unforgiving. They were required to increase their rate by two RPM per minute. Many novice athletes started to drop out at minutes 6 and 7, but the veterans maintained a steady pace until round 8, when they were dizzy with exhaustion.

We cheered with excitement for the long-lasting seniors as they pushed through their last pedals, “I did much better than last year. My score increased by 20 seconds this time” said Karl D, Rogers ‘21 as he wiped his forehead of sweat. The RCA inspector had a look of quiet optimism for the young rowing athletes as he jotted down final scores for the senior contestants.

To nobody’s surprise, the proctor was visibly impressed with the amount of effort that these rowers had put into this yearly evaluation. It’s safe to say that both parties went home satisfied that day.

Test #2 happens in December!

Fernando F, Whittall ‘21

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