A Tsawwassen family is celebrating another golden performance at the 67th annual Canadian Secondary Rowing Championships in St. Catherines, ON.
A year after Robert Bracken finished atop the podium as a member of the Shawnigan Lake senior boys lightweight eight crew, younger sister Leah did the same, this time in the junior girls coxed four event.
She also rowed for Shawnigan Lake and was a member of a crew that included Danielle Schmidt, Sierra Farr, Shanti Thurber and coxie Maia du Toit. Ironically, both Shawnigan Lake victories came from lane six.
The CCRSA, also known as School Boys, is one of the largest, most prestigious regattas in North America. The three day event was attended by nearly 2,200 athletes representing high schools from throughout the world.
Shawnigan was among 34 boats involved in initial qualifying in the junior girls coxed four. Twelve advanced to Saturday’s semi-finals and the top six moved onto Sunday’s final.
The Vancouver Island crew edged out Ontario’s Branksome Hall by just 1.36 seconds over the 2000 metre course.
“Our crew was fourth or fifth off the start, then we pulled ahead,” said the 15-year-old Bracken. “We were holding everyone off, but at the last couple of strokes a crew was gaining on us, and our cox yelled “don’t let them take it from you! Go! Go! Go!”. We crossed the finish line and thought we had won but it was close, so we didn't start screaming until the announcement!”
When home, Leah and Robert train at Burnaby Lake Rowing Club, where they appreciate the world class environment. Leah’s oldest brother, Sean Bracken, also rows for McGill University. The Brackens hope to see more Delta youth rowing through local high schools someday, and competing at the CSSRA.