BURNABY – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s rowing team and the University of Victoria Vikes women’s rowing team both defended their national titles Sunday afternoon, each earning gold on the final day of the 2023 Canadian University Rowing Championships at Buraby Lake.
The annual showcase which featured 297 athletes from 20 universities across Canada was action packed with dramatic racing right to the end. The T-Birds men’s crew claimed back-to-back titles after compiling 123 points to finish ahead of Brock(100) and Victoria (90). It came down to the final race in the women’s competition, with Victoria edging UBC to also repeated as champions, capturing the gold with 108 points, narrowly ahead of UBC in second (100) and Queen’s (91) in third.

CURC 2023 Sunday


The T-Birds men’s team was able to secure their seventh banner in nine years off three gold and three silver medal performances in six races. Second-year Owen Bartel got results for the ‘Birds in the Men’s Single, while the team of Axel Ewashko and Julian Black earned points with a first place finish in the Men’s Pair. Emerson Crick was another valuable rower for the ‘Birds, crossing the line second in both the Lightweight Single and Lightweight Pair with teammate Nikolas Schramm.

CURC 2023


“The important thing for us is that we felt we had a team that was fully capable of winning the banner, so the focus was on the individual races,” said UBC men’s head coach Mike Pearce. “The guys were super good in all of them, so even the second place finishes we had were all very well-fought. Anybody that beat them was put to the real test to get ahead of us. When guys are making sure that they’re putting everything into every race, I can’t really ask for more.”


Runner-up Brock received two gold medals in the Lightweight Pair and Lightweight Four, while Victoria’s stand-out rower Giancarlo DiPompeo won the Lightweight Single. Western and Queen’s were in the mix for many of the A Finals and earned valuable points off consistent results.

CURC 2023


The chase for the women’s banner was a lot closer. Nearing the end of the race day, only three points separated the first-placed Vikes from the ‘Birds in third. The battle for national title would be decided in the final event of the night, the Women’s Eight. The Thunderbirds, who had set the fastest time in Saturday’s time trials, got off to a strong start. Closing in on the finish line, UBC and Victoria were head-to-head, but in the end, it was the Vikes who took gold with a time of 6:31.062. UBC finished half a length behind to overtake Queen’s in the overall standings and earn the silver medal.

CURC 2023


“It was a very exciting day because it came down to the last race; the points championship depended on the outcome of the Eight,” answered women’s head coach Craig Pond when asked about Sunday’s finals. “We had beat UVic earlier this season, so we were pretty confident going into it and I think it just came down to us not having our best race. The girls were really disappointed. It’s crushing coming second, but it is a step forward from last year when we were third. We did improve a little bit in terms of our overall results, but we came to win, and it’s always sad when you don’t achieve your goals.”

CURC 2023


UBC won gold in the Women’s Pair, silver in the Women’s Lightweight Pair and Eight, and bronze in the Lightweight Single event. The 2022 and 2023 CURC Champions, UVic earned the banner with consistent racing. While the Vikes only claimed gold in the final event, three second place and one third place finishes proved to be enough in the tightly contested battle for the title. Following UBC was Queen’s with bronze, then Western and Brock just outside the podium.

CURC Mike Pearce coach of the year 2023


After a thrilling day of racing, athletes and coaches from across the 20 competing schools were recognized at the end-of-regatta banquet. UBC’s Axel Ewashko was nominated for the Men’s Athlete of the Year award and Mike Pearce won Men’s Team Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.


Individual Major Awards

Women’s Athlete of the Year – Kennedy Burrows (Ottawa)

Men’s Athlete of the Year – Stephen Harris (Brock)

Women’s Team Coach of the Year – Jane Gumley (Victoria)

Men’s Team Coach of the Year – Mike Pearce (UBC)

President’s Award ­– Dan Bechard (Western)

Above and Beyond Athlete of the Year – Jack Harding (StFX)

Coach Builder of the Year – Courtney Amilee (Calgary)


Women’s Final Point Standings

Victoria – 108

UBC – 100

Queen’s – 91

Western – 78

Brock – 31

Toronto – 30

Calgary – 29

Guelph – 25

Dalhousie – 20

Ottawa – 15

McMaster – 7

UFV – 0

StFX – 0

Carleton – 0

UdeMontreal – 0

Ontario Tech – 0

SFU – 0

USask – 0

McGill – 0

Waterloo – 0


Men’s Final Point Standings

UBC – 123

Brock – 100

Victoria – 90

Western – 83

Queen’s – 48

Calgary – 38

McGill – 29

Dalhousie – 9

McMaster – 8

Guelph – 7

UFV – 0

StFX – 0

Carleton – 0

UdeMontreal – 0

Ontario Tech – 0

SFU – 0

USask – 0

Waterloo – 0

Toronto – 0

Ottawa – 0


Women’s Medal Races

Women’s Lightweight Pair

1 Brock – 7:38.870; 2 UBC – 7:39.718; 3 Victoria – 7:53.629


Women’s Pair

1 UBC – 7:34.495; 2 Victoria – 7:37.308; 3 Queen’s 7:40.760


Women’s Lightweight Four

1 Queen’s – 7:27.220; 2 Victoria – 7:30.491; 3 Western – 7:35.901


Women’s Single

1 Western – 8:10.320; 2 Victoria – 8:14.163; 3 UBC – 8:17.761


Women’s Lightweight Single

1 Ottawa – 8:05.025; 2 Dalhousie – 8:08.043; 3 Queen’s – 8:08.392


Women’s Eight

1 Victoria – 6:31.062; 2 UBC – 6:34.109; 3 Western – 6:34.434


Men’s Medal Races

Men’s Single

1 UBC – 7:21.660; 2 Brock – 7:29.013; 3 Western – 7:36.538


Men’s Lightweight Single

1 Victoria – 7:21.756; 2 UBC – 7:24.784; 3 Brock – 7:27.225


Men’s Eight

1 UBC – 5:45.198; 2 Victoria 5:48.914; 3 Western 5:52.590


Men’s Lightweight Pair

1 Brock – 6:41.263; 2 UBC – 6:43.543; Queen’s – 6:46.483


Men’s Pair

1 UBC – 6:43.808; 2 Western – 6:48.227; 3 Queen’s – 6:51.645


Men’s Lightweight Four

1 Brock – 6:32.997; 2 UBC – 6:34.921; 3 Queen’s – 6:41.542


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