Earlier this month, 18-year-old Thorold rower Giancarlo DiPompeo won gold at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta.
He beat 37 other competitors in the U23 lightweight single category with a time of under seven minutes.
“It was a good race,” says DiPompeo, in an interview with ThoroldToday. “It was pretty tight. For the most part most of the field was pretty even. I decided to make a move and got about half a boat length ahead. I fell into a good rhythm and put on a sprint. It was really cool.”
DiPompeo says he discovered his love for rowing in grade nine.
“I tried it out because I heard [the rowers] worked out hard and I wanted to get in a little better shape,” he says. “I took it on and ended up being pretty good at it. My coaches encouraged me and I took a liking to it.”
To be at the top of his game, DiPompeo has to push himself hard every day.
“The racing is fun and all, the intensity is great but that only comes around every once in a while,” DiPompeo says. “The daily grind, the up and down of that high performance athlete lifestyle is what I really like about it.”
DiPompeo is currently studying engineering at the University of Victoria, where he is also part of the rowing team.
“We’re always getting better,” says DiPompeo. “It’s going to be an exciting season this next year. We have one of the best lightweight programs in Canada right now. We’re just looking to build upon that. It’s really good.”
In a little over a week, DiPompeo will participate at the Canada Summer Games.
“I’ll be racing with team B.C,” DiPompeo says. “Right now we’re going to be having a training camp here with the rest of the team. We’ll have about a week between now and then.”
It seems safe to say that DiPompeo has a lengthy rowing career ahead of him.
“I aspire to be on the national team,” he says. “Right now, the push is for the Paris Olympics. It’s a stretch but it could be one of the last Olympics with lightweight rowing so that’s the push.”
Wherever he goes, DiPompeo is proud of his achievements back home. In June, he was crowned Male Athlete of the Year by the Thorold Runway of Recognition.
“It’s really nice just to have that recognition after putting in a lot of time and work,” DiPompeo says. “It’s always great to hear that people are following along. To be recognized for all the time I put in, it’s special.”