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Thorold Secondary teams up with South Niagara for rowing program

The students are training hard to hit the water in early April; 'The kind of team building that happens is really awesome'

Off to the boat races!

Thorold Secondary School has teamed up with the South Niagara Rowing Club to bring back rowing to the curriculum.

The program is the brainchild of local teacher and coach Cam Stone.

“I made a call to South Niagara, and they are awesome,” he tells ThoroldToday. “Kevin Fuller, who's the president of the club, was great at coming back to me and offering me tons of help. They immediately let us borrow a couple of rowing machines, for our training.”

Stone ran a similar rowing program at TSS over 15 years ago, which was put on hiatus when his second child was born. 

“Once I stopped coaching, there was nobody to coach them,” says Stone. “Now my kids are old enough that the responsibilities aren't as acute, so I can spend the time to start rowing again.”

Stone says he has always had a passion for rowing as he comes from a rowing family.

“My dad, who is now 85, has always been involved with rowing as a rower and then as a coach and then as an international referee,” he says. “My brother was involved as well. And so, when I was in high school, I was very much involved and I won a few Canadian championships and a few Henley’s, things like that.”

Over a year ago, Stone floated the idea of reinstating the school's rowing program.

“Last year, we only had two athletes, which worked really nicely because I kind of had to get my head back in the game,” Stone says. “This year, it has exploded. We've got at least 10. The majority of them are in grade 9 and 10, so we're going to be able to grow our program.”

The group currently trains on rowing machines three days a week, and on Saturdays, they hit up the rowing tank at Brock University.

In April, the rowers will finally be able to hit the water at the South Niagara Rowing Club in Welland.

They’ll be working towards the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Championships, which will take place in Port Dalhousie at the end of May.

“They’re really excited,” says Stone. “I was telling them yesterday that it's just six weeks away for us, getting on the water. And it's so much fun to be on the water. It's beautiful out there, you know, learning a new skill and working hard together. The kind of team building that happens is really awesome.”

Stone hopes to continue to grow the program in the next few years. 

“The fact that we've got 10 kids who are excited — Usually you're building on a core of people to help with the excitement,” he says. “But these guys are generating the excitement all on their own. And that's just fantastic.”

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Bernard Lansbergen

About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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