The Faces Behind Rowing BC – HOWIE CAMPBELL
In his own words:
I joined rowing in Edmonton in January. It was about minus forty the first day I joined the team. I spent the first five months of my “rowing” journey doing old East German weight lifting circuits in the steamy, sweaty confines under the bleachers in the Kinsmen Fieldhouse. Then I was thrown in an old Donoratico Four with a couple fellow new rowers from the Maritimes and Ontario. The coach gave us a quick rundown of the basics. We were reasonably athletic and strong as could be from the five months of circuits, so we caught on pretty quick. The coach then headed upstream to coach the experienced rowers, yelling back over his shoulder that he would wait for us at the bridge. As we rowed, the boat started to fill with water. We attributed this to our splashing and once it got to the bottom of the slides we would go ashore and empty it out. We could get about 10 to 15 minutes of rowing in before the boat was “full” again. We didn’t think we were splashing that badly, but we were literally first timers, so we didn’t really know what to expect. The coach finally came back to see what was taking so long, as he actually thought we were rowing quite well when he had left. Turned out after sitting outside all winter the old shell had developed many long cracks and was actually sinking. We weren’t, “splashing all that much”, and all four of us raced our first Canadian Henley later that summer.
Since my own rowing days, I have been involved in rowing in BC through the development and hosting of several regattas over the years as the Men’s Coach at University of Victoria. I was briefly on the board as Vice President of competition, but health forced me to resign. I did introduce the idea of the BC Cup which flourished for a few years. It has been very meaningful to help athletes grow from their experiences in rowing as athletes but more importantly as people. I coached several athletes who eventually became medalists at Olympic and World Championships. What has meant more to me than reaching this pinnacle of competition, however, is that many of the athletes I coached, no matter their level of competitive success, became coaches, administrators and ambassadors for the rowing community. This shows the lifelong passion so many of them have for the sport.
I’m retired now, although I do help occasionally with coaching novices and guest appearances with the UVic Men and Women. I’m a member of the coaching education development committee for RCA. I enjoy wood working and building. I go hiking all over the Island with our dog, Bell, mostly in the CRD region but also in Strathcona Park. This past summer we climbed Mount Arrowsmith. Recently my wife and I attended the 2019 Rugby World Championships in Japan to watch our son play for Canada. This was a bit serendipitous, as I had coached a team for the first time on a tour to Japan, in 1985, right after I finished my racing career for UVic.