The Santiago 2023 Pan American Games rowing regatta has come to a close with Team Canada adding another bronze medal. Alizée Brien (Montreal Rowing Club) and Shaye De Paiva (Queens University / Calgary Rowing Club) powered to the podium in the Women’s Double to bring the nation’s total to four rowing medals at the Games.
Battling changing conditions at Laguna Grande de San Pedro de la Paz, Brien and de Paiva used a resilient final 500m to secure the bronze medal, behind the United States of America and Chilean crews. The bronze medal finish capped an impressive regatta for Brien and de Paiva who each head home from Chile with three medals from their debut Pan American Games, a feat de Paiva is proud to have shared with her doubles partner.
“I am proud of how far Alizée and I have come in the short time we have had together in the boat,” De Paiva said. “We have had some really great rows, today perhaps wasn’t our best, but it has been really cool to represent Canada and stand on the podium three times with her this week. I am really proud of us.”
For Brien, competing at the Games has produced many memorable moments, but being a part of Team Canada has been the highlight of her regatta.
“There have been a lot of memorable moments for me this week,” Brien shares. “But I think it has been the team and the team spirit that I will remember the most. Winning a gold medal in the eight was incredible but being part of the team and being with the support staff and getting to experience the Games with the crowds and volunteers, has been a lot of fun.”
Canadian crews narrowly missed out on adding to the medal tally on the final day of competition, with the Mixed Eight crew, coxed by Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Kristen Kit (University of British Columbia / St. Catharines Rowing), finishing fourth in a heated battle with the Cuban crew. While Shane Willis (Peterborough Rowing Club) rowed to a commendable fifth position in the Men’s Single final.
The highlight of the regatta for Team Canada was undoubtedly the Women’s Eight (W8+) category, where the Canadian team clinched a historic gold medal. Comprising a talented lineup, including included cox, Kit, Leia Till (University of Virginia/Brockville Rowing Club), Abby Dent (University of Virginia/Kenora Rowing Club), De Paiva, Abby Speirs (University of Victoria), Parker Illingworth (University of Texas), Brien, Olivia McMurray (Calgary Rowing Club) and Kendra Hartley (Calgary Rowing Club), the team demonstrated outstanding teamwork and endurance to be crowned champions in the first-ever Women’s Eight event at the Pan American Games.
Adding to the Pan Am team’s success, the Women’s Pair (W2-) event witnessed an impressive display by Dent and McMurray, securing the silver medal. Earlier in the regatta, the Women’s Quad (W4x) event brought more glory to the Canadian team, with Brien, de Paiva, Hartley, and Illingworth securing the bronze medal.
The Women’s Four (W4-) and Lightweight Men’s Double (LM2x) narrowly missed out on podium finishes, with fourth and fifth place finishes respectively. The Men’s Pair (M2-) and Men’s Double (M2x) categories saw the Canadian crews dominate the B Finals to victories, securing the seventh position overall in their respective events.
The 16 athletes have represented Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) and their nation proudly at the Pan American Games.
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