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Local rowers stroke to medals

By February 2, 2022July 19th, 2024No Comments
Lloydminster rower Shelby Lane. File Photo


Three Lloydminster rowers made a big splash at the Canadian Indoor Rowing Championships without dipping an oar into water.

Elijah Lopez, Shelby Lane and Liam Gilby recorded personal highlight reel performances during their virtual 2,000 metre races on rowing ergometers on Jan. 30.

“This is such an exciting time for the Lloydminster athletes. They are starting to see success from their hard work,” said Michelle Lopez, president of the Lloydminster Rowing Club, who taught the three stars the fundamentals.

Her son, Elijah, who rows for Brock University, was the top Canadian in the U19 men’s race and fourth overall in a real-time competition.

The Lopez family caught some live-streamed results in the parking lot at Table Mountain on race day.

“We were at the parking lot with our phone tilted to try to get some cellular service so we could watch it,” said Michelle.

“I’m so proud. Elijah was in first for about 500 metres, then he held second for quite a while, so it was very exciting to watch.”

There were rowers from 21 countries taking part in different locations and age categories using Time-Team tracking software and Concept2 ergometers.

“They are all in their own homes, clubs and countries connected through the Internet,” explained Michelle.

She says Concept2 is a great cardiovascular and strength biomechanics training tool.

“This is how Elijah was recruited last year. The university recruited him from his results. It’s a great opportunity for athletes to show their fitness,” added Michelle.

Elijah rowed an ergometer in St. Catherines, while Shelby and Liam rowed at the Saskatoon Rowing Club boathouse as members of the Saskatchewan Rowing Association team.

Shelby, who is a second-year student at the University of Saskatchewan, finished third overall and third in Canada in U23 women’s to the delight of Michelle.

“It’s a remarkable finish,” said Michelle.

She was just as amazed by Liam’s 11th place finish overall in his first competition in U17 men’s.

“I am so excited for him. He had a personal best, and being new to the sport, it was a great first showing,” she said.

Liam is a Grade 11 student at Holy Rosary.

Shelby’s mom, Lana, expressed high praise for all three rowers, starting with her daughter’s performance.

“Awesome, pretty proud of her, that’s for sure—it was 20 seconds better than what she did last year. It was a pretty big improvement,” said Lana, who notes it’s different than rowing on water.

“It’s a hard gruelling activity. It’s definitely a full-body workout.”

Shelby was recovering on Monday and sent a text noting the race was hard and she was tired, but excited by the outcome.

“I’ve been working hard for weeks for the race,” she said. “It was a personal best time (7:38) and getting bronze was awesome.”

She was just eight seconds behind her second-place national team rowing mate.

As for Shelby’s teammate Liam, he’s another rising star with the Lloyd rowing club by Lana’s reckoning.

“He’s got the height and the build of a rower,” she said.

She noted Michelle recruited him when he was training with her sons Elijah and Jonah.

“Michelle’s kind of taken him under her wing and doing some training,” said Lana.

Liam was invited by Team Saskatchewan high-performance coach, Andrew Knorr, to take part in the indoor championship at the Saskatoon club boathouse.

The Saskatoon club also won the Heart of Rowing award for their overall enthusiasm at the indoor nationals.

They were one of only a few groups that collectively gathered at their boathouse as COVID restrictions forced more rowers to compete on their own.

Michelle says the next thing for the Lloydminster club is to get back on the water.

“We have to wait for the snow to melt,” she said.

“In Alberta, it will be late April, early May. In St. Catherines, Elijah hopes to be on the water in late February or early March.”

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