Queen of Angels School has been quietly sending top rowers to Shawnigan Lake School for several years.
In recognition of that, Shawnigan recently gave a big boost to Q of A’s rowing program, selling the school several rowing shells at a drastically reduced price.
“They’re giving them to us at such a deal that it’s like a donation,” Q of A spokesperson Victoria Robinson said. “We just wouldn’t be able to afford to go out and buy them. It lets us take our rowing to the next level; it gives our kids the opportunity to join the program, and look what they can go into.”
Four of Shawnigan’s top rowers are Q of A alumni, including Mikayla Brennan-McCann, who won double gold at nationals last spring; Selena Lee, who won silver at nationals; Joshua Wheeler, who is the head of the rowing team; and up-and-coming Grade 10 athlete Jasmine Wheeler. Liam Brennan-McCann, Mikayla’s brother, is a former coach at Shawnigan.
This is the fourth year for Q of A’s rowing program for students in grades 7-9, and the new shells will help it grow and move training closer to the school.
“We had previously been rowing at Maple Bay,” Robinson said. “But we are hopeful with these new boats that we are going to be rowing at Quamichan Lake.”
Shawnigan head of rowing Colin Mattock was pleased to help out what has become an important feeder program.
“We’re excited to be able to do this,” he said. “We think it’s important to help continue to grow the sport and give back to a community where we’ve got students that have gone to Queen of Angels here and are now at our school, so we feel it’s important to look at where they’re coming from and make sure there’s support there, so that students could possibly try rowing here in a different capacity and then use that if they are coming to Shawnigan or going elsewhere to continue their rowing careers.
“We’ve seen lots of success from students who have come to Shawnigan from Queen of Angels that row, so we want to make sure that connection has support.”