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NOTL's Ingrid Eshuis named to Junior National rowing team

Eshuis will row in the women's four on the 2024 Olympic course in Paris, France in August

Eden High School graduate Ingrid Eshuis has officially earned her chance to compete for Canada at the 2023 World Rowing Under 19 World Championships in Paris, France.

The Niagara-on-the-Lake resident, who captured the gold medal in the Open Women’s Single at last month’s Canadian Secondary School Rowing Association championships in St. Catharines, will be racing in the junior women’s four August 2 through 6.

Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) made the announcement last Wednesday. Eshuis, a member of the St. Catharines Rowing Club, is one of nine Niagara area rowers named to the junior team. Eshuis’ head coach at Eden, Mike Petrychanko, who also coaches for SCRC, will serve as one of the team’s coaches.

“Throughout the competitive selection period, our crews faced challenges and tough decisions were made,” said RCA NextGen program lead Chuck McDiarmid in the announcement. “But this fostered a strong sense of camaraderie and passion as we head into the regattas. I am elated for these young athletes, many of whom will make their debuts at this elite level, and I have no doubt that the nation’s rowing community will rally behind and support them.”

“I’m super-excited,” enthused Eshuis. “It’s really the opportunity of a lifetime for me. And the Olympics next year are in Paris. We’ll be rowing on the Olympic course. They call us kind of the Olympic guinea pigs.”

She’ll be joined in Paris by her close friend and rowing club boatmate Makeda Harrison, though they will compete in different boats in the World Championships. Makeda will be teamed with Sarah Stacey of Welland’s Notre Dame Rowing Club in the women’s pair. 

Eshuis and Harrison competed this spring in the Ontario Small Boat Trials, the first step in qualifying for a spot on the national team. 

“To be visible to the coaches of the national team you have to do well there,” Eshuis explained. “They only allow you to race in a single or a pair. The pair is with one oar each (sweeping) instead of two (sculling). We made a decision to switch to the pair, and we won the Small Boat Trials.”

They followed that up just three weeks ago with a trip to the selection camp, where both rowers obviously made a great impression on the coaches and the selection committee.

Eshuis, Eden High’s 2023 oarsperson of the year award winner, will be joined in the four by Emma Goedhart and Stella Bittman, both from the Notre Dame Rowing Club, and Novella Rusman, from British Columbia’s Brentwood College School. 

Eshuis originally took up the sport after she finished grade 8. It was originally a diversion, as her mother Mari Shantz wanted her to get off the couch that summer. She continued rowing each summer at the rowing club, and got into competitive rowing when she began high school at Eden. 

With the secondary school championships cancelled in both 2020 and 2021, Eshuis has had few chances to compete at the high school level, but topped all high school rowers at the Henley course in the most prestigious women’s race last month. 

Her rowing club coach Michele Romak-Fisher, who also worked with Eshuis during the high school season, says Ingrid has worked hard to come so far so fast.

“She has really dedicated herself,” said a proud Romak-Fisher. “She has reached the highest level in the sport.” 

The 2023 World Rowing Under 19 World Championships showcase the best rowers aged 18 and under from around the world, competing in 14 boat classes over five days. 

Rowers who represent Canada at this regatta, as well as at the Under 23 World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and at the 2023 CanAmMex International Regatta in Sarasota, Florida, are expected to fund much of their own cost for their trip. RCA has launched their “Fuel Dreams, Forge Champions” campaign to support these exceptional rowers in their pursuit of excellence on the international racing stage.

To help fund Ingrid’s trip to Paris next month, visit

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Mike Balsom

About the Author: Mike Balsom

With a background in radio and television, Mike Balsom has been covering news and events across the Niagara Region for more than 35 years
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