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Following the Annual General Meeting on November 15, the winners of the 2023 Rowing BC Awards were announced.

Outstanding Volunteers can be nominated by anyone associated with a member organization. Volunteers to recognize are chosen by the Rowing BC Awards Committee. This year, two outstanding volunteers were recognized.

David Marchioro came to the Fraser Valley Rowing Club after the club was shut down for months following the flooding in Abbotsford. He offered his help immediately and for free. When he was offered compensation, he would not accept it. 

David has been coaching all Learn to Row programs for the last year and a half, and he continues to go above and beyond. A representative from FVRC had these words: 

“If David hadn’t offered to help out we simply wouldn’t have a Learn to Row program at all. Without him, we likely wouldn’t be able to stay afloat (pun intended). His generosity with his time and knowledge means the world to our community.”

The second recipient for 2023 is Bas Rijniersce. 

Although Bas is a member at Deep Cove Rowing Club and False Creek Rowing Club, he is being recognized tonight for his work with a variety of Regatta Organizing Committees as a Timing & Results expert. 

This year, Bas volunteered to travel to Vancouver Island for the Western Canadian Beach Sprint Championships to lead the timing. The LOC added, 

“It wasn’t just timing. He also built the buttons for use in beach sprint regattas, from scratch, and connected them to the Crew Timer system. That kind of technical expertise, donated to our regatta, really elevated the quality of the event.”

Bas then took the system to the Cascadia Beach Sprints, where he volunteered his time as well. He has also volunteered at several flat water regattas including Cascadia Masters, BC Champs, NRCs and, Western  Canadian University Championships, Canadian University Championships.

The Umpire of the Year is selected by the Rowing BC Umpire Committee. For 2023 the recipient is Chris Frappell.

Chris has accomplished a lot this year. He passed the chief umpire exam and he put those new skills to use over the course of multiple regattas as both chief umpire and deputy chief umpire. His colleagues describe him as not just getting things done, but being tactful and constructive in his conversations with other umpires and the rowing community.

Club Coach of the Year is selected by the Rowing BC Awards Committee from nominations that come in from clubs and participants. This year, the committee received many outstanding nominations. Rowing BC is encouraged by the number and quality of coaches out there.

The 2023 Rowing BC Club Coach of the Year goes to Kylie Whitcombe of Vancouver Rowing Club.

Kylie is the Head Juniors coach at VRC and works with a wide range of athletes. From novice to competitive, ages 12 to 19, she works to provide quality programming that keeps athletes engaged and motivated. 

Kylie is continuing to progress on her coaching pathway, and will be completing RCA Coach training this month. Here are some things her athletes had to say about her:

“Kylie has encouraged us to be the best athletes we can be. She pushes our limits and creates a great environment for us to compete in. VRC has an amazing Junior program because of her presence.”

Athlete of the Year is selected by Rowing BC’s Director of Performance, Terry Paul, in consultation with the Awards Committee. The 2023 Rowing BC Athlete of Year award went to Liam Smit.

For the second straight year Liam swept the field at the National Rowing Championships to win the Men’s Open 1x and the prestigious Derek Porter Award for the Nationals Top Men’s Sculler. 

Liam recently graduated from the University of British Columbia where he twice won Gold in the Men’s 1x and in the Men’s 8+, helping his UBC team to capture Canadian University Championships Banners. 

In 2023 Liam was selected to Rowing Canada’s Sr. Men’s quad, competing at Royal Henley, World Cups and the World Championships. He is currently training full time at the National Training Center in pursuit of selection to  the Canadian Men’s 1x focusing on the Olympic qualifier event this summer in Switzerland.

Performance Director, Terry Paul finished off the award presentations by recognizing the 2023 Rowing BC Performance Coach of the Year. The award went to Glen Stiven of the Vernon Rowing and Dragon Boat Club.

Glen has been an active driver of performance programming at the Vernon rowing club, successfully developing athletes for multiple important events along the High Performance pathway including, in 2022 BC Summer Games as Zone 2 Head Coach, Canadian University programs and Team BC at the Canada Summer Games. This past year Glen had notable successes with Junior Sculler Jonas Masys, winner of BC regional Junior trials at Shawnigan Lake in May and again at BC Championships in Burnaby in July. 

Working with other coaches in the region, Glen is an important driver of performance programming in the interior. Glen is actively pursuing his Rowing Canada Performance coach and regularly attends Rowing Canada conferences and Rowing BC development camps. Glen is a necessary and enthusiastic promoter of high performance rowing in BC.

Congratulations and thank you to all of our award winners!

*Photos of Liam Smit with permission from Rowing Canada Aviron & Kevin Light Photography.
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