Upper Canada College has had a powerhouse rowing program for years, sending boys on to competitive rowing universities and even Olympic medals.
Now UCC rowers have another weapon in their arsenal to help with their training: a still water teaching barge named “Admiral” John Ashbee in honour of the school’s freshman rowing coach. It’s believed that UCC is the first high school in Canada to have this equipment, which was acquired through generous contributions from past and present members of the College’s rowing community.
The dual-hulled barge has multiple seats to accommodate several boys. It provides a stable platform for training and will be especially useful for new rowers, including coxes. It will also enable head coach Grant Boyd to walk up and down the plank so he can examine each rower and better focus on helping them with their form.
“This will help us to develop and encourage our new athletes with a safe and stable platform to work from in developing technique and learning the rowing stroke,” says Boyd.
Boyd added that UCC will also institute “learn to row programs” that previously weren’t possible before acquiring the barge.
In addition to the support of the donors, Boyd also acknowledged Ashbee for being instrumental in making the barge acquisition happen.
UCC rowers had their first race of the 2017 season on Feb. 5 at the Canadian Indoor Rowing Championships at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ont. Raphael Berz placed first in the Junior B Lightweight category and Mathieu Hansen was first in the Junior Novice category. Many other rowers achieved personal bests and placed in the top 10 of their groups.
The outdoor rowing season will begin with the Hoover Regatta in Westerville, Ohio on April 22. More events will follow in May and the season will culminate with the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association national championships at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta Course in St. Catharines, Ont. on June 2.