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Gray wins two golds and a silver at Rowing Nationals

Winnipeg’s Emma Gray is the fastest junior female rower in Canada. Not bad for a young woman who had never sat in a rowing shell a year ago.

Last weekend, Gray won two gold medals and a silver medal at the National Rowing Championships in Burnaby, B.C.

But there was more to Manitoba’s success than just Gray’s marvellous performance. For the first time in Canadian rowing history, Manitoba athletes won the Canadian Rowing National Championship trophy, emblematic of the Rowing Association that has the highest percentage of athletes to achieve world standards.

“To put some light on the greatness of this performance by Manitoba Rowers, we competed against Olympic and world gold medalists in the most successful summer Olympic Canadian sport in history,” said provincial head coach Antony Patterson. “Manitoba has won the efficiency trophy for the first time in history and we won by a record margin.

“We have won two gold and one silver in three of the hardest contested events at the National Regatta. This again has never been done before in these events. Last year our best result was third in the C Final, 15th overall. The Manitoba Women’s Quad came second to B.C. by the narrowest of margins (0:05 seconds), beating all other large rowing programs in the country.

“In my 30 years of international coaching I have come to realize the shear gravity of the athletes’ and programs’ achievements throughout the Nationals. I am finding it hard to compare this fantastic result to any other results. I believe if this isn’t the best result, including my five Olympics as a coach, it would be a very close second.”

Gray’s personal performance was remarkable. She is still only 18 years old and has been rowing for less than a year. In that time, she has already represented Canada at the Junior World Championships in Rotterdam.

“My goal was to race better than I ever have before,” she said. “I went out and pulled hard, and focused on my own race. The high level of competition was also a driving factor. I used the skill and speed of the other elite athletes to push myself to another level.”

After graduating high school in May, Gray spent much of her summer training and competing in Europe. She competed in two regattas in the U.K., came home to win Rowing Canada’s National Selection Trials, and competed in her first Junior World Championships. Earlier this month she started her first year in the University of Manitoba’s faculty of engineering.

“I’m obviously extremely pleased with my results and am excited to capitalize on the fall season, and to continue to develop and learn as a rower,” Gray told the Canadian Centre for Sport Manitoba. “I have no idea what the future holds for my rowing career, but I am open to and excited for the possibilities.

“All I can focus on is what’s in my own control – to keep training hard and loving every moment of the grind. It’s all about loving the process, along with the fine balance of being happy with your achievements and the constant desire for improvement. My goal is just to keep becoming a better version of myself every day, because my own self is all I truly have control over.”

Manitoba’s Results:

Women’s Open single scull – (Over-23)

  • Silver Medal: Emma Gray (18)
  • Seventh place: Rianne Boekhorst (22) placing higher than international athletes, and has only been rowing for seven months.

Women’s Open pair – (Over-23)

  • Seventh place: Casie and Kaelyn Gauthier (23 and 24 years old), placing higher than two international crews.

Women’s U23 single scull – (Under-22)

  • Gold medal: Emma Gray, placing higher than the current national champion.

Women’s Junior – (Under-19)

  • Gold Medal: Emma Gray, placing higher than the current national champion.

Canada Cup results:

  • Second place: Manitoba to British Columbia in the Women’s quad by 0.05 seconds.

“The Manitoba Rowing Association is pleased to recognize the impressive results achieved at the 2016 National Rowing Championships and Canada Cup regatta,” said Manitoba Rowing Association President Kelly Malcolmson. “Congratulations to our dedicated squad and head coach Antony Patterson. ”

All of the above results are the best Manitoba has ever achieved. In such, this shows that the Manitoba Rowing Association program and structure, led by Coach Patterson, is currently the most efficient in the country.

“In addition, all Manitoba athletes achieved personal bests at the Regatta,” said Patterson. “Our athletes were highly praised by Rowing Canada for their professional approach and sportsmanship.”

– SCOTT TAYLOR with ANDREA KATZ

Photo courtesy of Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba

Editor of the popular Game On Hockey Magazine and The Point After Football Magazine, editor of Canadian Meat Business Magazine, sports editor of Grassroots News, TV play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and author of the bestselling book: The Winnipeg Jets: A Celebration of Professional Hockey in Winnipeg. He likes virgin pina coladas, long walks on the beach, puppies and thoroughbred race horses that run according to form.
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