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Three rowers from U of O return from international championship with pride

Photo credit: Marika Kay

Gee-Gees rowers Marika Kay, Jenna Pelham, and Lilianne Pagé are back in Canada and certainly have a lot to be proud of.

Pelham and Pagé finished sixth in the lightweight doubles final at the University Rowing Championships. But, all the ladies greatest sense of pride came from representing their school and country in international competition.

The championship, held this past month in Gravelines, Northern France, brought together the best university rowers from across the world.

“It’s such a big deal to get to wear the red and white, to get to put a maple leaf on your oars, to hear ‘go Canada!’ as you race down the course,” said Pelham.

But it was a challenge. With the food, the equipment, and small regulation variations, France was markedly different from the racers’ usual setting. However, when it came time to race, the athletes felt at home in the water.

“We are in a boat, we’re rowing two kilometres, and we want to get those two kilometres done faster than any other boat. That’s all,” said Pelham.

A particular highlight was their ‘second chance’ repechage heat, which Pelham deemed their best race.

Kay, who raced with different teammates from Washington State University, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Saskatchewan, made it to the B finals in the women’s quad scull. The foursome wasn’t able to capture a spot on the podium, but Kay still felt positive.

“All of us had good races and progressed well over the weekend,” she said.

Her experience was especially different because she wasn’t familiar with her teammates prior to the competition. As it turned out, this was far from a bad thing. For her, the most memorable part of the trip was the drive from her team.

“The focus and determination from my crew helped us work together and figure out the best way to move the boat quickly,” said Kay.

The Gee-Gees group is now looking forward to the Canadian National Championship in Victoria, B.C. this November.