Schoolboy gold caps Whittard’s high school career
Cait Whittard ended her high school rowing career in style with a CSSRA gold medal Sunday morning.
The Grade 12 student at Denis Morris recorded a decisive victory in the senior women’s single to go with the gold medal she won in the same event at the Stotesbury Cup in May.
“In Grade 9, I rowed a four and we were able to get a gold then and it was nice to come back and do it again after such a long break,” the 17-year-old said.
She was also delighted to win at the Stotesbury Cup.
“In Grade 9, we had won silver there so it was really nice to cap off a high school career there winning gold. I got to travel with all my training partners who I I have been working with over the winter and through COVID so it was great to be there together and do well.”
Whittard toyed briefly with the idea of attending the American Scholastic championships and have a shot at high school rowing’s triple crown but she decided against it.
“I am focusing on my training towards the summer and it was a lot of travelling which would take away from my training hours. I thought about it but I am looking towards my goals this summer.”
Those summer goals are hopefully earning a spot representing Canada at the junior worlds. She will attend a selection camp in Victoria at the end of June.
“I find out then if I am racing CanAmMex or if I make the junior national team.”
She was selected to the CanAmMex roster last season but the pandemic cancelled in-person training and the regatta.
Having a shot at wearing a Canadian singlet is a big thrill.
“It is a feeling that you can’t really describe. “This is what I have worked towards for almost two years now since I joined the centre. Once you get there, you realize that’s the goal and through COVID and lockdowns that is what the training has been for. To be getting this close is a good feeling and I hopefully can get even closer.”
Whittard won Sunday’s race by a solid margin but she wasn’t taking anything for granted.
Her Ontario NextGen Performance Centre teammate, Anna Parmenter from Lorne Park, beat her by a 10th of a second in the time trial and Whittard’s time in the semifinals was a 10th of a second better than Parmenter’s. Her teammate finished second in the final.
“I knew it was going to be a close race going in.”
Whittard was happy to wear a Denis Morris singlet for one final regatta.
“I wasn’t sure what the season was going to look like and I only went once in Grade 9. It was great to be able to wear it again.”
Whittard committed to row at the University of Tennessee several months ago and that helped her psyche during the high school season.
“It was a stress relief knowing that I have my future planned out for next year but, no matter what, you put those things behind you and to the side once you are getting ready for your races, You focus on what you can control and what you can do,” she said. “Even if I hadn’t decided yet, I would have put my mind in the right space and focused on myself and my race plan.”