Row to Podium: Training Future Olympic Rowers at Trent

4 students rowing on otonabee riverHigh performance athletes groomed for success at Trent University.

"I'm super excited about the athletes we have here and their prospects for the future," says Carol Love, coach of Rowing Canada's Talent Development Centre (TDC) at Trent University. Established in 2010, the TDC at Trent is one of seven in Canada tasked with identifying and training future high performance athletes as part of the Row to Podium program.

"Trent's program has the greatest momentum of any TDCs happening across Canada," says Ms. Love, a former Olympian herself and former Trent Rowing head coach. "We've put five athletes onto national teams who are part of the succession plan for the next Olympic quadrennial."

Current and former Trent students who have participated in the TDC and gone on to national teams include Sarah Rothwell, Alex Watson, Graham Peeters, Trevor Jones, and Andrew Stewart-Jones.

Mr. Peeters and Mr. Jones were recently selected to the team that will compete at the 2016 World University Championships in Poland, from September 2 to 4. Ms. Love is anticipating that other Trent TDC athletes will represent Canada at the Under 23 World Championships in Rotterdam on August 26 - an official announcement from Rowing Canada is expected on July 19.

As coach, Ms. Love's role is to identify athletes who have the potential to be world class rowers, test them, and work with them. Athletes receive specific coaching and constant evaluation geared towards high performance. The program is individualized to allow the students to work around their academic studies and other needs.

Ms. Love credits the supportive partnership with Trent University and the Peterborough Rowing Club for the local program's success.

"Trent is a one-stop shop for these athletes," she says. "It's an incredible environment with the school, the athletic facility where we do indoor training, the club right on campus, and a great stretch of water to train on."

Ms. Love says that other TDCs are looking at the partnership model created at Trent, to improve their programs. And she notes that the TDC program has started to raise the bar with Trent's varsity rowing program, because other athletes can see how successful they can be with work.

Explaining that it takes years to develop an elite athlete, she says it is too early for the Trent TDC to have rowers competing at this year's Olympics in Rio de Janieiro, but she is hopeful for the next games in 2020.

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