Cowichan Valley rowers make their mark with Team Canada

Two Cowichan Valley-raised rowers are making waves with the Canadian national program.

Michael Braithwaite of Duncan won medals at back-to-back international regattas in late June, while Ben Coull of Mill Bay has been picked for the team that will head to France this fall for the World University Rowing Championships.

Braithwaite, who graduated from Cowichan Secondary and learned the sport with the Maple Bay Rowing Club and competed in the men’s double at the 2012 London Olympics, has moved over to the men’s quad. At the second stage of the 2014 World Cup, held in Aiguebelette, France on June 20-22, Braithwaite’s quad crew won a bronze medal, finishing behind Germany and Great Britain for one of two of Canada’s medals in Olympic classes.

"We have been working all year on staying internal and focused on what we can control, and today we executed that plan really well, finding that extra gear to make the podium," he said on Rowing Canada’s website.

"We are really happy with today’s race and here, with the combination of mountain views

and crystal clear water, is spectacular. Definitely looking forward to racing here again next summer at the 2015 World Rowing Championships." A week later, Braithwaite’s crew won a silver medal at the Holland Beker Regatta in Amsterdam, finishing a second behind the Chinese boat and ahead of a Dutch crew.

Mill Bay’s Coull, a 2010 graduate of Brentwood College School, will travel to Gravelines, France in September to compete in the men’s eight at the World University Rowing Championships. Coull attended Queen Margaret’s School until Grade 7, and began rowing at Brentwood, where he won several medals, including silver and gold at the Canadian Secondary School Rowing Association Championships in St. Catharines, Ont. He went on to win silver and bronze medals at the CanAmMex Regatta in Tennessee in 2010.

Currently working on an engineering degree at the University of British Columbia, Coull was part of the UBC men’s eight that won silver at the Canadian university championships in Montreal last November, as well as back-to-back Brown Cups over the University of Victoria in 2013 and 2014.