Rowing Canada, based in Greater Victoria at Elk Lake, took a big step in its rebuilding program to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by winning the silver medal behind Romania and ahead of bronze-medallist New Zealand in the women’s eight as the 2017 world championships concluded Sunday at Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida.
Germany won the men’s gold in the eight, the boat classification that is considered the marquee event of rowing.
“As our coach [Victoria-based Kiwi Dave Thompson] always says, you don’t always need to be the best crew, you just need to be the best crew on that day,” said Canadian women’s eight crew-member Christine Roper, in a statement.
“We were fine tuning, and more fine tuning, to make sure we had the best race and today was that day.”
Roper was born in Jamaica, where her father was a beach resort manager, and is a former boarding adviser at St. Michaels University School. She scuba dives and was an NCAA rowing champion with the University of Virginia Cavaliers.
Roper, Lisa Roman, Nicole Hare and Susanne Grainger pulled double duty at the world championships in both the women’s four and eight. Also a member of the silver-medal eight was Rebecca Zimmerman, a hometown graduate of the University of Victoria Vikes program.
What made the Canadian women’s eight silver medal more noteworthy is that it was won without the highly-regarded Mount Douglas Secondary graduate Caileigh Filmer, who is described as the future of the Canadian women’s program. Filmer was only 19 when she rowed from the crucial stroke seat in the women’s eight for fifth-place Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympics last summer. She was in the stroke seat as Canada won eights gold in the world U-23 championships earlier this year.
Filmer is transferring to the UVic women’s program this year from Cal-Berkeley of the NCAA Pac-12. She has a heavy academic load in the sciences, and is prioritizing the classroom for the rest of this season, so decided to…