Tuesday , January 22 2019
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Row NS Award Winners

Female Individual Rower of the Year - Claire Ellison

Female Rower

Claire Ellison rows out of the Halifax Rowing Club. In 2017, Claire had a break out year. Locally, Claire competed in the Ice Breaker Regatta, Sprints Regatta, North West Arm Regatta, Atlantic Rowing Championships and Really Chili Regatta highlighted by winning the Pelham Trophy at the Cogswell/Pelham Championship race.

Furthermore, Claire was a member of the Row Nova Scotia Provincial Team and was selected to represent Team Nova Scotia at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, MB in July. Claire rowed in the NS women's double and the NS women's quad that both placed 6th at the Games.

To cap off 2017 Claire was selected to represent Row Nova Scotia at the 2017 National Rowing Championships held in Burnaby, BC. Against the best junior women in the country Claire impressively raced her way to a bronze medal in the junior women's single.

Male Individual Rower of the Year - Ben Walls

Ben Walls

Ben Walls rows out of the Halifax Rowing Club. In 2017, Ben had a standout season dominating locally. He won the AIRC in the junior category, the junior men's single at the Ice Breaker Regatta and winning the junior men's single, and was a part of the winning quad in the junior and open event at the Sprints Regatta.

Ben, as a member of the Row NS Provincial Team, represented Team Nova Scotia at the ERA Regatta in Montreal where he won three golds in the junior men's single, junior men's double and junior men's pair. Later on in the summer, he represented Team Nova Scotia at the Canada Games in Winnipeg, MB where Ben placed 6th in the men's double and quad.

To finish off the year, Ben was selected to represent Nova Scotia at the 2017 National Rowing Championships in Burnaby, BC where Ben placed 4th in strong junior men's single field. Ben is currently attending the University of Victoria where he managing his studies with being on the Vikes Rowing Team.

Female Crew of the Year - Hannah Meeson and Chloe Tardif


Hannah and Chloe both  row out of the Halifax Rowing Club. Locally, the duo competed in the Ice Breaker Regatta, Sprints Regatta, North West Arm Regatta, Atlantic Rowing Championships and Really Chili Regatta with many strong results as a team and individually.

Furthermore, Hannah and Chloe are members of the Row Nova Scotia Provincial Team and were selected to represent Team Nova Scotia at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, MB in July. The pair rowed at the Canada Games in lightweight women's double event where rowed fearlessly.  The two girls rowed to a 5th place finish in a strong A Final beating Quebec and pushing Ontario, Manitoba and the larger provinces in that race.

Male Crew of the Year - Tristan Kays and Noel Balsor

Male Crew

Tristan and Noel from North Star Rowing Club had a breakout year. This young duo, 16 and 15 respectively, began rowing together at the Ice Breaker Regatta wher they won the junior mens double at the Ice Breaker Regatta and the Sprints Regatta.

The young rowers hard work paid off as both were selected to Team Nova Scotia for the Canada Games. While they didn't compete at Canada Games in the double/pair, they did help the men's quad finish 6th.

Immediately following Canada Games, the two rowers reconnected at the Royal Henley Regatta in St. Catherine's where they stepped up to a high level of competition and competed hard. Next up was the Atlantic Rowing Championships where the two young rowers narrowly missed first at Atlantics in the pair, falling just seconds behind a much older and experienced boat. Tristan and Noel continued there excellent season and made the standard to go to the 2017 National Rowing Championships in Burnaby. Against the competition in the country they managed to secure a bronze medal in the junior men's pair.

Club Coach of the Year - Colm Gribbin

Owen Sawler Memorial Trophy

Colm is the Head Coach at the Halifax Rowing Club and for the Dalhousie Rowing Program.  Colm has coached athletes to achieving notable placements at every local regatta and had a number of athletes selected to attend the National Rowing Championships where those athletes notably claimed a bronze in the junior women's single, 4th in the junior women's single and 4th in the junior men's single. Furthermore a large portion of the Nova Scotia Canada Games rowing team rowed out of the Halifax Rowing Club.

Colm inspires both the crews he coaches and the people he works with to reach higher and strive for more. Under Colm's coaching and leadership HRC has been able to win back to back Club Championships at both the Sprints Regatta and Atlantic Rowing Championships.  In addition to his coaching accolades, Colm is an excellent leader and motivator and makes meaningful connections with his athletes. He made rowing fun and improving easy, bettering the club with his technical knowledge and easy personality.

President's Award - Bob Sawler


The Row Nova Scotia President's Award is awarded to Robert Sawler of North Star Rowing Club. Robert (Bob) began his rowing career at an early age when he began coxing at 10 years old in 1948 before beginning to compete at just 15 and going on to win three Canada Games medals, more than any other NS rower. In addition, as a rower he has won multiple Cogswell medals and won Henley (masters 1x and crew).  As a coach, he has coached three consecutive NS Canada Games teams with his athletes winning four medals; he has been the boat driver for the Canada Games twice, driving to Brandon, MB and London, ON; and has coached at more Royal Canadian Henley Regattas than you can count with his athletes winning 2 gold medals under him.

As a volunteer, Bob served as the President of Nova Scotia Rowing Association (now Row Nova Scotia) for over a decade; and has been a long serving volunteer, coach, boatmen, and regatta organizer.  Furthermore, he was instrumental in acquiring and renovating Oakwood House, mordernizing the North Star boat fleet, expanding and upkeeping the North Star boathouse and  is a skilled boat repair man, repairing at least 3 boats written off by insurance.

This year, in his 80th year, Bob served as a guest coach for the NS Canada Games Team, continued his daily upkeep and rental of Oakwood House, continued his boat repair and coaching at North Star, volunteered as a boat driver at nearly every local regatta and lead the charge on the expansion of the new boathouse being constructed at North Star.

Umpire of the Year - Mark Penfound

Mark has been a staple at local rowing events for over ten years and you will be hard pressed to attend a local regatta without seeing him on the water. He is leader within the small but loyal group of Nova Scotia umpires and is always willing to mentor any new and upcoming umpires. Mark brings a high level professionalism to umpiring which leads to safe, organized and well-run regattas for the coaches, rowers and volunteers. Mark continues to apply and be selected to National regattas which helps him develop personally as an umpire but brings the latest umpiring standards back to Nova Scotia.

Volunteer of the Year - Karen Kinley

Row Nova Scotia 2018 Volunteer of the Year is Karen Kinley of LYC Rowing

Karen has been the President at LYC Rowing for the past two years.  In this role, Karen has worked hard to maintain and grow the programs at the club. Karen, as volunteer has no shortage of job titles as she was instrumental in selecting and managing a coach; organizing early morning and evening rowing times throughout the summer, sending out club communications; lobbing LYC leadership for funds to purchase boats; recruiting new rowers; setting up and organizing 'Learn to Row' and 'Come and Try' sessions; managing the budget and public relations; and recruiting a capable management team to help her in the coming year.

However, what makes Karen stand out is her passion and spirit towards rowing. Karen has taken on the role of an enthusiastic leader amongst the Masters/Recreational crew and having her at the helm, she is inspiring us and leading us to the right direction. Most importantly, Karen does all this work with an infectious smile on her face and a warm welcome for all with whom she interacts - committed rowers, the public and new recruits!

Mileage Award - Susan Duann


Sue has been involved with Mic Mac AAC for nearly 20 years.  She has served on the Mic Mac AAC Board, the Row NS Board, the Mic Mac Rowing Steering Committee and is currently leading the Mic Mac AAC Equipment Committee. She brings a significant amount of passion, investment, and commitment to Mic Mac AAC and the rowing programs.

Always seeking to improve and grow, Sue continues to persist by challenging the status quo. She speaks her mind and does not back down from a challenge. Although an intense and hard working rower, Sue is the person who remembers to send a supportive note to someone in need and support new members, especially in the learn to row and junior programs. Her assertiveness and drive come from a place of caring and dedication to the sport, the club, and her teammates. She trains year round in crew boats, in her own single, and indoors. She competes at almost all regattas and is seeking to repeat her win in the Masters Mixed Double - not just by handicap advantage, but by crossing the line first!

Broken Oar Award - Maddie Murphy and Bella MacLeod

This story takes place in Antigonish, at the start line of the 2k race course where the junior women double race was about to start. The competition looked tough it was HRC (Miller), HRC (MacDougall), HRC (Campbell) and HRC (Murphy). Maddie and her double partner, Bella, had just rowed up to the area before the start line, to find out this was the last race before they cancelled the rest of the races for that day. They had about 14 minutes until the race would start, the boats were waiting to be called to line up. Suddenly  Bella and Maddie saw a wake coming their way on the left and  a wave approaching on the right. Before they knew it the water engulfed their oars! Bella’s oars were both ripped from her hands and Maddie lost her starboard oar!  Bella reached out and grabs her starboard oar which luckily was pushed in reach by the waves, while Maddie leaned out the other way to keep the boat balanced. finally able to secure their oars and regain balanced. The other boats were all enjoying the show immensely while the umpires looked a little concerned and then shook their heads and then called “five minutes to start”.

Long Service Award

15 Years of Service

Deborah Skilliter - Mic Mac AAC and North Star Rowing Club