SRA Provincial Coach: Garett Mathiason
I began rowing in the summer of 1996. Therefore, 2015 is my 20th year in the sport. Time flies!
I love the personal growth that rowing provides. Once a participant commits fully to the process, they learn to understand how to tap into their potential by persevering through physical, technical, mental and tactical experiences. As a coach, observing and contributing to this growth is very exciting for me. Through these experiences, people begin to love the sport because of what rowing provides for them.
I started rowing in the summer of 1996 with the Prince Albert Drifters Rowing Club. I began rowing in high school with my cousin. We had so much fun, racing in trainers and doing this unique movement on the river, that it was a bonus that we were getting in great shape as well. From these humble beginnings, I became excited to try the competitive end of the sport. In making the 1997 Canada Games team, I became the first rower from outside of Saskatoon or Regina to make a provincial team. From there, I competed in two additional multi-sport Games: the 1999 Western Canada Summer Games in my hometown of Prince Albert, and the 2001 Canada Summer Games. The friendships I have developed during that time remain my most dear to this day.
Following the 2001 Canada Summer Games, I had some fantastic experiences rowing with the University of Victoria, and especially, the York City Rowing Club in York, England. This included competing in the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta in Henley-on-Thames, England. I last competed on the water in 2007, when Regina last hosted the NWIRA Championship Regatta.
In 2008, I became an NCCP Level 3 certified coach. I got a Bachelor of Kinesiology and Health Studies Degree from the University of Regina in 2005, with a major in Fitness and Lifestyle. In 2005, I became the 2nd coach from Saskatchewan to represent Canada by coaching the junior mens team at the CanAmMex Regatta in Oak Ridge, TN, where I lead the junior boys to a regatta win over our US and Mexican counterparts. I again coached Team Canada at CanAmMex in 2014, where I was the junior mens sweep coach. I was part of a team of talented athletes and coaches who dominated the CanAmMex regatta for the first time in recent memory.
While coaching since 2001 in Prince Albert, Victoria, and Regina, I have been the Provincial Coach South with the Saskatchewan Rowing Association since 2011. It is has been an absolute privilege to coach alongside my childhood friend, John Haver (Provincial Coach North) since taking up this role.
In the summer months my primary coaching group will be junior (U19) athletes who are training and trialing for the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games Team, and the World Junior Rowing Championships. I will also be coaching High Performance (i.e., National team potential) U23 athletes. By the fall, I will coach any new U19 athletes who have potential to make future Provincial teams
My favourite quote linked to rowing is from Steve Fairbairn "To improve the oarsman you must improve the man."
For more information, visit the Saskatchewan Rowing Association (SRA) website
Crew Challenge Coordinator & Coach: Nick Day
I've been rowing for 12 years. I've been a rower and coach at Queen's University, a rower and coach at Argonauts Rowing Club in Toronto, and a member of Regina Rowing Club.
I started rowing in the 'novice' program at Queen's. It was a wonderful thing for my life. I had never been part of a high-performance sports team before. Before rowing, I had always struggled with fitness, time management, organization, stress, and anxiety. But when I joined the rowing team all of that changed. I thrived from the new level of discipline and routine in my life. I learned to manage my time better: even with a demanding training/travel schedule, I started getting straight A's in university! And, the rowing workouts were like meditation for me; they reduced my stress and anxiety and helped me enjoy life a whole lot more. So the first thing I love about rowing is how the routine and fitness improves my life and helps me to achieve my goals in other aspects of life.
The next thing I love about rowing is the collaborative team dynamic on a crew. As any rower knows, the biggest factor to making a boat move fast is a positive, collaborative, selfless crew culture. Boats don't need star MVPs, they need tight crews. In a race, you're not competing against the opposing crew: you're competing against yourselves, always trying to get tighter, more connected to each other, and faster than your previous PB as a crew. So you need to set aside ego and work for the team. In my rowing 'career' I've been lucky to always be in crews with fabulous, positive people. So the second thing I love about rowing is the bonding, the feeling of working hard towards the goals of the crew, and the feeling of pride in our collective achievements.
My fondest rowing memories are from my second season racing at Queen's. I was on a junior varsity men's 8. We were not what you'd call an elite crew. We started the season with pretty sad 2k erg scores, but what we lacked in fitness we made up in spirit and fun, so a retired rower and friend offered to coach us as the B-string junior varsity boat. Well, pretty soon our crew cohesion started to pay off and we began to beat the A-string boat in weekly time trials. Being an adventurous lot and brimming with confidence from our early success, we searched far afield for fun racing opportunities. We travelled to Head of the Fish in upstate New York and took home gold in the heavy men's 8 category. We travelled down to the Head of the Hooch in Tennessee and took third place in the collegiate men's 8. But I think our biggest achievement was the world-famous Head of the Charles. Due to a scheduling error, we were put into the "Champ 8" division. This was not the right competitive field for a misfit crew like us, but we were up to the challenge. In a stunning performance, we finished Dead Last, about a minute and 45 seconds behind the second-last crew. But the highlight took place in the first minute of the race, when Team Germany and Team Spain each overtook our boat without even breaking a sweat.
I've coached varsity-development at Queen's University for three fall seasons, high school rowing at Argonauts for 1 year, and I've coordinated/coached recreational rowing programs for several years. My strength as a coach is definitely working with fresh crews/new athletes to provide a very good basis in rowing fundamentals. I have a well-honed method for quickly helping you build the skills to get the boat moving, and to learn as much as you can in your first season. I believe that with an attentive coach, anyone can access rowing at a high level. As far as coaching achievements, more than a dozen of my athletes at Queen's went on from their first season with me to become elite rowers in high-level crews.
I'll be coaching/coordinating the Crew Challenge and recreational programs.
Favourite quote: "So, boys, you've been cut. You didn't make the top crew. You'll be rowing in a B-boat. You look bummed. But let me ask you a question - are you here to make a fast crew? Or are you here to make your crew fast?" John Armitage, head coach Queen's University, 2008.