Tsawwassen teen rows to gold
Last weekend, Tsawwassen's Leah Bracken raced to a gold medal finish with the Shawnigan Lake School Junior Lightweight 4+ crew at the 2012 Canadian Secondary School Rowing Championships (CSSRA) in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Although she has been rowing for three years already, this is Bracken's first year competing for Shawnigan Lake School.
"I picked up rowing because my brothers did it and have been doing it ever since Grade 8," said 15-year-old who when at home rows at Burnaby Lake Rowing Club.
In the bow position for her crew, Bracken and her team qualified for the final with a first place finish in their heat followed by a close second place finish to Branksome Hall School from Ontario in the semi-final, who they then went on to beat in the final.
"Going into the final I didn't want to think about the outcome, I just wanted to focus on the race. But when we actually won it was amazing," she said.
Coach Danielle Beare knew her crew had a good chance going into the final.
"Our heat and semi time set us up to be in the medals if we raced well. The plan was to be patient and focus on one race at a time. The girls were very mature and executed the race plan perfectly. I couldn't ask for more than that regardless of the outcome," Beare said.
The CSSRA is held annually the first weekend of June in St. Catharines, Ontario at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta course and is the largest high school regatta in Canada, and possibly North America. The event is open to high schools throughout North America with crews from as far as British Columbia, the United States and Mexico coming to compete.
Bracken and her brothers hope to see more Delta youth rowing through local high schools someday, and competing at the CSSRA.