Local rower Katie Clark is continuing to dominate on the water as she prepares to compete against the top rowers from around the world.
From July 24-28 she will be in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida for the 2019 World Rowing U23 Championships.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Clark. “We have been training twice a day still, on the course. But, it’s so cool to be rowing along beside crews from all over the world and seeing other countries, it just gets your heart going.”
The competition has nearly 700 of the world’s best rowers under the age of 23 competing at the championships.
“This is my first race, not internationally, but at the world championship level, and we for sure want to be top six, but a medal would be awesome,” said Clark.
Clark went through an extensive process to make the national team leading up to the championships. She took part in the 2019 Speed Orders National Selection Regatta where those who were interested in being considered for the RCA National Team had to take part.
“I wasn’t really expecting to do too well, I was somewhat shocked,” she said. “It’s kind of like a big process.”
Clark, 20, will be rowing with Kara Ensminger from the University of Western Ontario in the U23 Women’s Double Sculls.
“We started training as a double June 18, so not very long,” explained Clark, adding that the two compete against each other during the school year.
Having been rowing since 2014, but took it seriously in 2017 Clark says she enjoys it because she can see her personal results continue to improve.
“It’s a sport that you get what you put into it,” she said. “The more hard work you put in the winter, you’ll see the results in the summer. It’s also really cool how the team dynamic works because a lot of the time you are racing against your teammates, but because of the training and how hard it can be you have such a close connection with everyone, it’s remarkable the people you get to meet because of it.”
Over the years of rowing, she says she has seen herself continually do better on and off the water.
“It’s helped me mature a lot,” she said. “It gave me a place right away in a big university at UBC. As much as I have gotten faster since I started rowing, I feel like I have gained a lot of really close connections because of it, and I get to learn a lot from other people.”
Clark, a Cranbrook native, was set on going to the Olympics, but for skiing, but after an injury sidelined her, her dream shifted to rowing.
“I didn’t imagine my life would end up like this,” she said.
Competing across the world isn’t an easy task, especially with Clark attending the University of British Columbia and having to raise money to attend these events. RCA has launched its NextGen athletes fundraising campaign for the third year in a row.
“There is a really high likelihood that a lot of us will be representing Canada at the 2024 [Summer Olympics] and in order to keep that dream alive we have to come to these events, which end up costing us a whole lot of money, and we are all university students who don’t really have time to have full-time jobs to try and support this,” explained Clark.
Donations and a show of support can be made through www.fundrazr.com/RCANEXTGEN2019.