Local junior rowers have been putting in the work on Lake Cunningham as they prepare for competition at the 2022 CanAmMex International Regatta to be held on Fanshawe Lake in London, Ontario, Canada. It is set for July 11-12.
The Bahamas’ participation in the regatta is via a collaboration of two clubs – the Nassau Rowing Club (NRC) and the Windsor Rowing Club (WRC). An 11-member team includes Jessica Proffitt, Poppy Proffitt, Breanna Gayle, Crachante Laing, Kenneth Hart, Kameron Taylor, Matthias Simms, Isaiah Ellis, William Watson, Harrison Schindel and the spare is Tasneem Karabas. They will be competing in four different races – the women’s quadruple sculls, the men’s quadruple sculls, the women’s double sculls and the men’s double sculls.
The head coach of the team is Canadian Olympian Andrea Proske. The team manager and assistant coach is Beatrise Bethel. WRC coach, Olympian Rob Gibson, is also supporting the team.
CanAmMex is one of the biggest junior rowing national team events that has Canada, the United States of America and Mexico rowing against each other. It usually encompasses junior rowers who narrowly missed the world championships. This year, The Bahamas got an invitation to compete – the first time a fourth country was invited in its 15-plus years of competition.
Proske, 2020 Olympic Champion in the women’s eights for Canada, said now that school is closed for the summer, they will take training up a notch as they gear up for preparation camp.
“The training has been harder than anything that these athletes have ever done,” Proske said. “Up until now, they have fitted training around school, so it meant a lot of time not spent doing other things. The athletes are stepping up and gaining fitness that they have never had before. They are doing distance and speed that they have never had before.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for them because not only do they get an opportunity to represent The Bahamas internationally, for many of them this will be the biggest regatta they have ever been to. This is also a great stepping stone for those who want to go off for school.”
Collegiate scouts are expected to be in attendance. The rowers will get an opportunity to leave not only with medals but with new friendships as well.
President of NRC Kyle Chea said that he hopes the regatta helps the rowers develop their passion for the sport.
“The regatta has presented an incredible opportunity for rowers across New Providence to come together to represent the country through athletic excellence. We hope that this opportunity lights a fire in our athletes to start their own Olympic journey to represent The Bahamas at more competitive regattas in the future,” Chea said.
Proske believes in the rowers and believes that if they achieve their personal best they will return home with some hardware.
“I expect the athletes to be very clear about what our definition of success is. The definition of success is to cross the finish line knowing that we turned over every stone and that we had a personal best. I do believe that these rowers’ personal best will be enough to land us among the top two spots,” Proske said.
The team is sponsored by King’s College, Marlin Capital Partners, Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty, Isles of Knight, Agriculture and Energy Carriers, the New Providence Development Company and Biosteel.