At the August Rowing World Championships in Linz, Austria, Canada’s women’s team qualified 5 rowing teams for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Two of the qualifying women’s crews had AKR rowers. Gabby Smith rowed in the double sculls and Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski in the women’s eight. AKR’s advisor, Gavin McKay, coached the Canadian Olympic women’s team in BC this summer and was in Austria with the team.
When asked how AKR could deliver performance at this level in three years with a pool of only 14 people, McKay replied, “Our success is a statement about the quality of the lake and the support of the local community.” He went on to add, “We also have more talent currently developing in Knowlton with Marilou Duvernay Tardif and Anna Burnotte who still have an opportunity for Tokyo in 2020.”
Meanwhile, back at home, AKR is working with the Town, with the Province, and with many people in the community to support rowing at both the high performance and also at the community level. This summer AKR, with the help of the Lions Club, tested a youth program with campers and with many other children in our community.
AKR is also planning similar camps with Knowlton Academy and Massey Vanier. The hope is to create the same youth involvement in rowing at Brome Lake that Mont Glen did for skiing.
“The widespread support that we are receiving is humbling,” added McKay. “As the group of people involved continues to grow, rowing at Brome Lake could become a beacon for economic and social development that benefits everyone in our community.”