St. Catharines university rowers named to Canadian national team


Published July 7, 2022 at 3:57 pm

Rowing Canada named Brock Badgers Michael Ciepiela, left, and Stephen Harris to its NextGen U23 team, which will compete in Varese, Italy, from July 25 to 30. (Photo: Brock University)

Brock university student-athletes at the St. Catharines and Thorold campuses will have plenty of reason to turn their attention to Italy later this month.

When the 2022 World Rowing U23 and U19 Championships take place in Varese, Italy, from July 25 to 30, the Canadian teams will be heavily stocked with Brock Badgers.

Today (July 7), Rowing Canada named Brock Badgers Michael Ciepiela and Stephen Harris to its NextGen U23 team while Brock heavy men’s coach Scott Anderson was announced as part of the staff for both the U19 and U23 teams and Badgers open women’s coach Mary Rao was named to the U19 staff.

Incoming Brock student-athlete Anna Pamenter was also named to the U19 roster and will compete in the women’s double in tandem with teammate Cait Whittard of the St. Catharines Rowing Club (SCRC).

Harris, a second-year Economics student from Guelph, will compete in the lightweight men’s single. In April, he was named Brock’s Male Athlete of the Year after medalling in every boat he rowed this past season.

Ciepiela, who also trains with the SCRC, is paired with Andrew Hubbard of Queen’s University in the men’s double.

A second-year Business student from Brampton, Ciepiela said it’s a dream come true to compete for Canada.

“Representing Canada at an international level has been a goal of mine since I was young,” said Ciepiela, a multi-sport athlete who started rowing only three years ago.

“I came into the sport with high ambitions. When I was recruited to row through RBC Training Ground, I committed to taking it to the highest level I could. It feels like I’ve finally found the sport I’m built for.”

Since coming to Brock, Ciepiela has progressed from a novice to one of the top U23 rowers in the country. After not getting invited out west to the trials last year, Ciepiela trained with a chip on his shoulder every day with the goal of making the Canadian team in mind.

“When I started this sport, my mindset in the beginning was that of an underdog and trying to earn a seat among experienced teammates,” he said.

“Now this upcoming fall when I return to Brock, it’ll be the opposite. Younger student-athletes will be gunning for my spot, so I need to elevate my rowing. As a rower I’ve improved in all aspects, but I still have a long way to go and a lot to improve upon. My goal is not to get complacent.”

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