The Canadian National Rowing Team has a rich history of excellence, producing outstanding rowers who have represented the country on the international stage. Over the years, the Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) national team has seen numerous athletes bring glory to Canada, with their achievements on the international stage inspiring and motivating the rowers of today and tomorrow.
To further strengthen the bonds between past, present, and future team members, the National Team Alumni Association Committee (NTAAC) has been re-established aimed at fostering camaraderie, mentorship, and support throughout the rowing community.
The Canadian National Rowing Team legacy of excellence spans generations. From Olympic and Paralympic medals to World Championship titles, the accomplishments of former rowers have left an indelible mark on Canada’s sporting history. By re-establishing this committee, led by two-time Olympian Don Telfer, who serves as chair of the NTAAC, the alumni aim to preserve and honour this legacy, ensuring that the achievements of past rowers are not forgotten but celebrated as an integral part of the current team’s identity.
“Celebrating our shared history and fostering the next generation of rowers go hand in hand. As alumni of Canadian rowing, it is our responsibility and privilege to be involved with the current generation of rowers,” Telfer said. “By sharing our experiences, offering guidance, and providing unwavering support, we bridge the gap between the past and the future, ensuring the flame of excellence continues to burn brightly in the hearts of all those who proudly wear the maple leaf on the international stage.”
Through this mentorship, it fosters a sense of continuity and unity within the team, helping current athletes achieve their maximum potential. The journey of an athlete can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. The newly formed committee seeks to establish a supportive network where rowers, both past and present, can connect, share experiences, and offer support. This network creates a sense of belonging and camaraderie that extends beyond individual careers, enhancing the overall team spirit.
This spirit was evident at the San Diego Crew Classic earlier this year, where RCA Alumni competing in the Masters’ categories at the regatta, had an opportunity to meet with the current National Team members. It was a chance for alumni to reconnect with old friends, have new rowing experiences, and meet with the current generation of stars. The highlight of the weekend was a team dinner held on Saturday evening where the RCA Alumni hosted the current Men’s and Women’s eights crews for dinner.
Olympian Phil Monckton speaks to the RCA Alumni and
the current Men’s and Women’s Eights at the San Diego Crew Classic. (Supplied)
A new addition to the NTAAC is recently retired Tokyo gold medallist Susanne Wereley (nee Grainger), and as the committee grows, there are plans to involve alumni in RCA events, programs and initiatives. The current NTAAC includes:
- Don Telfer – NTAAC chair, two-time Olympian
- Phil Graham – two-time Olympian
- Mike Forgeron – Olympic gold medallist (Barcelona 1992 – Men’s Eight)
- Peter Cookson – three-time World Championships Team Member
- Susanne Wereley – Olympic gold medallist (Tokyo 2020 – Women’s Eight)
- Lindsey Bergen – Olympic silver medallist (Rio 2016 – Women’s Lightweight Double)
One of the committee’s first initiatives is calling for nominations for the potential 2023 inductees into the Rowing Canada Aviron Hall of Fame. Categories are comprised of individual athletes, crews, coaches, and builders and can also include Para athletes, crews, coaches, and builders.
Nominations for the 2023 RCA Hall of Fame close on August 31, 2023, with selections made by the end of September.
The re-establishment of the National Rowing Team Alumni Committee marks a significant step towards strengthening the bonds within the rowing community. By connecting the rowers of the past, the present, and the future, this committee seeks to preserve the team’s legacy, offer mentorship and support, and contribute to the growth of the sport in Canada. As the committee expands its initiatives, it has the potential to create a lasting and positive impact on the Canadian rowing landscape, fostering a unified and successful national team program for years to come.
Beyond the social and emotional aspects, the committee will also focus on practical matters, such as fundraising and sponsorship for the National team program and the building of the National Training Centre (NTC). Alumni, with their extensive networks and connections, can be instrumental in securing financial support to aid the team’s development and ensure access to top-notch training facilities and equipment.
To support the national team, RCA has recently launched an initiative entitled Patrons for Paris to power the teams on their journey to the Paris 2024 Games.
We invite you to join the movement and become a valuable member of a supportive community that will embrace the team and help them achieve success on the international stage.