Junior Rower of the Year - Tom Stender - Halifax Rowing Club
Tom Stender has proven his dedication and commitment to the sport of rowing is unwavering, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.
Throughout the 2020 winter training season, Tom trained twice a day in preparation for the 2020 Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Championships, and when in-person rowing was shut down, he immediately adjusted to maintain a high level of training while in lockdown. When all 2020 regattas were canceled, Tom identified new training goals that he could control, by focusing on areas in his fitness, technique, and cross-training. He continued to train on a high-performance schedule while leading a variety of virtual and socially distanced team activities that helped his teammates cope with the isolation during lockdown. Tom was one of the biggest supporters of HRC’s isolation challenges and stood out as a leader with his ability to adapt to the circumstances of COVID-19.
In August 2020, following an on-water season dedicated to developing his individual goals, Tom Stender pulled another personal best 2000m test, with a time that earned him a spot on the Nova Scotia Provincial Team’s Performance Group. Tom’s incredible athletic performance in 2020, coupled with his ability to maintain a mid-90’s average in advanced level courses at school, have earned him a spot in Queen’s University Men’s Rowing program.
Tom’s tireless dedication to his training as a high-performance junior athlete, coupled with his strong leadership skills and adaptability, have allowed him to thrive during a difficult year. Throughout the past year, Tom set new personal bests and sought out opportunities to hone his skills as a competitive athlete, in a year when all competitions were canceled.
His nominee writes, “I have truly never met an athlete who is more driven, disciplined or supportive of their teammates. Tom makes the boathouse a welcoming and inclusive place, but his passion for the sport of rowing pushes everyone around him to become better athletes, and people in all aspects of their lives.”
Senior Rower of the Year - Dawson Peachey - North Star Rowing Club
“Dawson was an all-around club guy this summer, while also training as a Provincial Team athlete. As one of the summer student coaches, he took A LOT of initiative in helping out with a huge variety of things at the club. He was an integral part in the process of reopening the club, ensuring that the COVID protocols were followed, and making sure that all sessions were covered by one of the coaches.”
When the club’s Head Coach needed to step back due to work commitments, Dawson took on the very tricky position of coaching his peers. He coached the competitive program a few times a week, doing his own training on his own. He asked other coaches at the club a lot of questions, trying to learn as much as he could and to improve as a coach. Going into the winter training he took on the task of creating weekly training programs. He is keen to further his coach education.
On top of his coaching, Dawson is keen to participate as an athlete as well. He is always looking to do what he can- if he is early, waiting to be picked up at the end of the day, or at the club, without something to do for some other reason he will always find something that he can be doing (vacuuming, sweeping out the bays, cleaning bathrooms, etc). I think it says a lot that he has remained so dedicated to his training all while coaching various groups, including his peers.
Masters Rower of the Year - Mark Sebestik - Mic Mac AAC
Coach Innovator of the Year - Holly Davy - Halifax Rowing Club
Mileage Award - Julia Mills - North Star Rowing Club
"Julia is an integral member of the North Star Senior Program and has been for a number of years. Whether she is the only athlete to show up, or lining up beside a men's double, or hopping into a crew boat, or joining in with another group's session, Julia always shows up and is keen to join in. She is ready and willing to learn, always looking to improve, and is learning to challenge herself by getting out of her comfort zone. She does a fantastic job of maintaining and celebrating her club connection in many ways."
She is a consistent face in the North Star community and welcomes everyone, no matter age or level of ability, or years involved, in any way she can. She is keen to hop in with any crew for a race and she enjoys racing as often as possible. This past year, Julia was determined to participate in any form of race that was available to her-- whether that be club time trials, the virtual Sprints Regatta, the Atlantic Indoor Rowing Champs (the last in-person event before the pandemic), or the very first Beast of the East challenges. Her love and passion for the sport and the people involved are easy to see in her commitment to the club and the well-being of her teammates and members of the larger rowing community.
Umpire of the Year - Julie-Ann Vincent - North Star Rowing Club
Julie-Ann demonstrated her commitment to the Nova Scotia rowing community through her efforts on the newly formed Row NS Umpire Committee and sitting on the RCA Umpire Committee. Her work on these two committees has ensured that, although no regattas are occurring, Nova Scotia and our umpires are at the forefront of the rules of racing, new information pertaining to umpires and discussions on COVID protocols at regattas. Additionally, Julie-Ann has continued the pursuit of her own personal growth as an umpire by planning to attend Chief Umpire training when COVID allows the training to occur.
Volunteer of the Year - Michelle Raiche-Marsden - Mic Mac AAC
Michelle burst onto the rowing scene at Mic Mac AAC in June 2015 in one of our Adult Learn to Row programs. Since that time, she has continued with year-round training, eventually transitioning to the Master’s Adult Competitive programs. Her vivacious personality, experience running a sport program, and dedication to the club draws people to want to work with her.
Michelle helped integrate weekly swimming practices as part of our winter training program. In early 2020 Michelle co-lead a club initiative to host “Swim, Row, Go!” - a triathlon-style event that involved swimming, erging, and an outdoor run. Michelle leads all of the logistics aspects of this event by coordinating with the venue to secure space for all three activities and transition zones, as well as arranging an online registration platform. The event was scheduled for April 2020, so was unfortunately canceled due to COVID.