PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY ROWING CANADA AVIRON
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This weekend’s World Cup II in Varese, Italy will bring a new experience for the Women’s Eight crew members as they compete in both the Women’s Eight and Women’s Fours at the same regatta on the international stage.
When World Rowing announced the entries, it became apparent that only three crews would be competing in the Women’s Eights category: Canada, Australia, and Great Britain. In search of more racing opportunities and starts, Carol Love, the Women’s Eights coach, collaborated with the team and World Rowing to add two additional entries in the Fours event.
Jessica Sevick, a Tokyo Olympian in the Women’s Doubles and now in the Eight, believes that more competitive races will benefit the team as they prepare for the upcoming World Championships.
“I think it’d be a great opportunity for us to get some starts and races in, especially because we have an inexperienced crew,” said Sevick. “So I think it’d be really good to gain more experience and improve our skills.”
Sevick’s teammate, Kristina Walker, shares the same sentiment regarding the importance of more racing opportunities for the crew.
“I think with the Eight, it can be challenging when there aren’t as many boats or countries entered into the World Cup,” Walker explained. “So getting the chance to line up a couple more times is super beneficial. It’s a great opportunity to split up the eight into two boats and further develop our technical skills in the smaller boats.”
Canadian rowing fans have fond memories of the Women’s Eight and Women’s Four competing together at an international regatta. At the Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics, the Canadian women’s crews achieved gold medals in both categories. While reminiscing about the past, the 2023 crew is eagerly looking forward to the new challenge.
“Competing in the Eights and the Fours is a great way to test our fitness and push ourselves to see what we can do under fatigue,” Sevick expressed. “So that’s pretty exciting too.”
The possibility of lining up against their own teammates adds a fun novelty to the event. However, for Walker, Sevick, and the rest of the crew, the focus remains on the larger boat and delivering their best performances.
“We all have immense respect for each other, and ultimately, we all want what’s best for one another. If we can go out there and give our best performances, I believe everybody will be happy,” Walker affirmed.
“We’ve discussed the idea of competing against each other, but our focus is on the Eight. We’re one team utilizing these four races to elevate the Eight. While friendly competition within the team is always good, our primary focus is on performing as a cohesive unit,” Sevick added. “We really want to elevate each other and our performances.”