Among the old timers competing a 73-year-old, in only his seventh year of rowing, put on a show and paddled hard past people much younger than him.
Or in this case, worked the stationary rowing machine harder.
Jacques Aartis of Edmonton finished second in the Masters category once his age was accounted for. His 1000 metre time of 3:38.6 was not good enough for a podium finish, but because of the age handicap he vaulted into second place.
“I was 66 the first time I got onto the water,” said Aartis, who has been rowing in a solo boat for the past three or four years.
For 30 years prior the most consistent exercise he had was walking a dog.
“I didn’t do anything before and I realized that as an older fellow you can still do something you enjoy,” said Aartis. “It was a coincidence that someone said I should row.”
Aartis and Andy Nokes, president of the CABC, were among the close to 160 rowers in Blackfalds at the Abbey Centre Saturday for the Alberta Indoor Rowing Championship. Competitors ranged in age from 14 to 73, with the largest group being university and college students.
The event was hosted by the Central Alberta Boar Club, the local rowing group.
For the races there was a line of 12 rowing machines and through a projector a display of each competitors is put on the wall in front of them.
Though they may not be on the water until May, once the ice clears from Lacombe Lake, the CABC is hard at work training for the coming season.
Typically the CABC trains in the evenings in the summer on Lacombe Lake, which is halfway between Lacombe and Blackfalds just off of the QEII. Competitive rowers are out about four times a week while recreational rowers are out twice a week.
The CABC has played host to the event for about 10 years because of the central location for clubs throughout the province.
Michael Simonson, provincial technical director of the Alberta Rowing Association, was in attendance and competed himself. He talked about a handful of rowers who have competed at this event previous years and have gone on to compete nationally.
“There’s going to be two or three individuals in this room that will go on to represent Canada in the next 18 to 24 months,” said Simonson.
Karen Lefsrud of Edmonton is training in London, Ontario as part of the national training centre and is vying for an Olympic spot; Nicole Hare of Calgary has represented Canada at the U23 World Rowing Championships for the last two years and won a bronze medal last year; Olivia McMurray of Calgary represented Canada at the Commonwealth Rowing Regatta last year and McKenzie Lukacs of Calgary represented Canada at the World Junior Championships in 2013.
For more information about the CABC contact Nokes at 403-782-0732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.