Photo: CC, Daria Tumanova.
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Team hopes to see administrative help, focus on athletics

The University of Ottawa’s rowing team has been chosen to be a part of Sports Services’ newly-created varsity club tier, giving it a new level of support by the university.

The rowing team is already a member of Ontario University Athletics, and according to Alex Martin, the team president, nothing will change in terms of scheduling competitions.

One thing Martin is looking forward to is more support on the administrative end of the team, which is currently managed by a six-student executive. “We’re hoping that the new status gives us more time to train and to study, as student athletes, and less time trying to run the team as student administrators.”

“We have a very big amount of athletes that we have to provide services for,” said Martin. “It takes a lot of time, and we manage quite a lot of cash flows for the season, to deal with buses, hotels, even uniforms, so we’re hoping the new status can allow us to worry less.”

The rowing team has been becoming more prominent since was founded 13 years ago. “It started as a very small program with very few athletes, and now we’ve grown to over 50 athletes,” said Martin.

Martin also said that the team is ready to keep putting up results in coming years.

“We have a great program in Ottawa,” he said, noting that the men’s side finished first among the non-funded in Ontario at the OUA championships, fifth overall this year.

“We’ve produced many international-level athletes, we account for many of the provincial and national-level medals,” he said.

Martin added that aside from the OUA, the U of O rowing team alumni have been seen on the world stage. Most notable was the case of Andrew Todd, a former U of O rower who won bronze in the Paralympic Games in Brazil in 2016, the first medal for Canada in the sport since it was added to the Paralympic games eight years previously.

The rowing team’s season starts in September, when they have a head-to-head race against Carleton University. After some invitational competitions, the team takes part in the OUA championships and the Canadian University rowing championships in November.

Martin said that the team is always looking for more people to make a splash in the coming years.

“There’s really no limit to what you can do on the rowing team,” he said. “It’s a great team of super committed people, and it’s a really good environment to be part of.”