As part of a women’s eight that won gold last month, Ivy Elling Quaintance had to travel far from home. The former Stelly’s Secondary student now studies kinesiology and rows for Washington State University, but travelled with her team for the World Rowing Under-23 Championships in Poznan, Poland, where they won gold, successfully defending their 2017 world championship title.
Elling Quaintance said rowing has been part of her life since she was a Grade 8 student at Bayside Middle School, where her mother encouraged her to try rowing for a few months in an introductory program. She liked it so much she quit her other sports to fully commit. She has been rowing for seven years, and she has been in touch with Rowing Canada for four years.
Elling Quaintance likes the physical demands, and that “there’s always something you can work on.”
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Rowing was a big reason she chose to go to the States, because she said there were many more opportunities for rowers there.
“To be a part of such a huge team with so much depth and so many amazing athletes and all the free education they’re offering for athletes is just an opportunity you can’t say no to.”
In the A Final, the United States had an early lead, but Canada picked up the pace in the final 500m and overtook the American team, finishing with a time of 6:04.61. She travelled Europe for two weeks after the competition, but with most serious competitions in the spring, she can focus on training. She said she is taking it year-by-year, and seeing where it will take her.
While the athletes are in school, Quaintance said they begin each day with a workout at 5:45 a.m., have a full day of classes, then row at 3 p.m. every day except Sunday.
“Rowing really teaches you not to procrastinate, and I think people would find there is so much time in the day and it really is possible, as long as you’re not spending all you time on your phone…If you have a social life while you’re training with athletes most of your time is spent studying.”
Rowing Canada is raising money to help athletes like Quaintance travel to international competitions. While the federal government has its own initiative for Olympic-level athletes, Elling Quaintance said programs like this helps train the next generation of athletes. Funds also go towards breakfast programs and physiotherapy for athletes.
So far, the crowdfunding campaign has raised just shy of $68,000, with money to be equally distributed among young Canadian rowers. Athletes pay a portion of their event-related expenses like travel, so the campaign, which closes August 31, is meant to help with that cost. Rowing Canada has also agreed to match $25,000 worth of donations dollar for dollar.
To donate, visit rcanextgen.ca