Redemption for DiPompeo
Something special was brewing the moment Thorold resident Giancarlo DiPompeo, Emerson Crick, Lucas Celia and Brock rower Connor Dodds climbed in a quad together June 17 in Welland at time trials for the under-23 national team.
“After our first time trial together, we knew we had a chance to medal this year and that was our goal. We put our sights on that and to be able to do that and execute was a great feeling,” DiPompeo said.
The Canadian lightweight quad capped a hard summer of training by winning a bronze medal at the world under-23 championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. It was the first international medals for all four of the athletes.
“It was just like we joked about being another day at the office. We raced in Welland just before we left and we joked that it was World Cup Welland. To be able to stand on that podium it was really cool to check that box, especially with the guys that I had been training with,” DiPompeo said.
Canada got off to a great start and ended up third behind the Italian and German boats.
“I was really excited. It was a solid race and everything was executed very well.”
The Denis Morris graduate was thrilled to receive the medal.
“I was in a lot of pain when I first finished the race. I kind of flopped myself down on the dock and relaxed a little bit. We really didn’t get a chance to cool down,” the University of Victoria scholarship rower said. “It was a very special moment. We all worked pretty hard to achieve it and we were a pretty tight knit crew.”
It was DiPompeo’s second experience competing on the course in Bulgaria. He was part of a Canadian quad that competed there at the under-19 worlds in 2019 and that experience helped in 2023.
“It was nice to know the course a little bit. I was able to let the crew know about the float pattern and where to go. It helped prepare me because I knew what the conditions would be like where the wind was and how hot it would be.”
Canadian coach Mary Rao was also at the junior worlds and the two’s combined knowledge was a bonus.
“It was nice to get back to the same place,” he said. “The last time we went was during the COVID year and we didn’t get the full experience of the regatta or see anything of the country. This time we were able to get the full experience.”
One thing that was much better this time around was the result. At the 2019 junior worlds, DiPompeo and his cremates ended up second last in the entire field.
“I wouldn’t take away from the experience and it was a good experience that it gave me competing at that level but it did give me a kick in the ass in the sense that the standards are really high. This is the standard and I need get better,” he said. “To go back and row in the same location and medal there was redemption.”
DiPompeo’s second motivating kick in the butt came last summer when he failed to crack the roster for the under-23 team.
“That was frustrating and I really had to re-examine things,” the third-year mechanical engineering student said. “That was probably one of the best things that has happened to me. I thought I was ready to make the team and then I had to take a step back. There was stuff that I needed to work on.”
DiPompeo, who won two bronze medals at last year’s Canadian university championships, will be competing in championship eight and maybe another boat at next week’s Canadian Henley regatta and then his thoughts will turn to representing Canada again.
He and Crick qualified a lightweight double for Canada at the upcoming Pan-American Game and he will be trying to earn a spot in the boat.
Looming on the horizon is the 2024 Olympics and although only 19, DiPompeo would love to make Canada’s team.
“It’s a long shot but it could be the last Olympics for lightweight rowing. There is a little bit of urgency and that’s my hope.”
Also at the under-23 worlds, Brock rower Stephen Harris placed ninth overall in the lightweight single and fellow Brock rower Michael Ciepiela teamed with Andrew Hubbard to place 16th in the men’s double.