An Abbotsford student who has never rowed was recently chosen as one of only 20 athletes from across Canada to be selected by Rowing Canada to learn the sport as part of the RBC Training Ground program.
St. John Brebeuf student and avid basketball player Adam Bouwman recently participated in the program and was shortlisted by Rowing Canada.
The RBC Training Ground program is a talent identification and athlete funding program designed to uncover athletes with Olympic potential and help them get all the resources they need to excel on the world stage with the Canadian Olympic Committee.
It’s open to any athletes from the ages of 14 to 25 to see if they may be suited for an Olympic sport. Since shifting to a virtual system in October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participants perform simple speed, power, and endurance tests at home and submit their results online (RBCTrainingGround.ca), for assessment by Olympic talent scouts from seven different Olympic sports who have certain benchmark results they are looking for.
“Adam is tall, has long arms with excellent wingspan,” stated Chuck McDiarmid, NextGen Program Lead Coach, Rowing Canada. “And we could tell from his submission that he has some good all-around fitness. The next steps will give us the real info. That is where we bring him in and run him through our specific testing (machines and potentially on the water). Then we will know if he is a really good fit for rowing.”
Bouwman, 17, is 6-3, his wingspan measures 200 cm (roughly 6’4) and he is also an avid cyclist (mountain).
“Long, lean and strong are definitely things we look for in rowing,” said McDiarmid. “We look forward to meeting Adam in person.”
Some athletes use the program to get noticed by national team scouts in their existing sport. Others, like Bouwman, use it to see what else might be out there.
The top 100 athletes (based on benchmark testing and subsequent sport specific testing by interested sports) will be selected to compete in the RBC Training Ground National Final and potentially earn funding support as an RBC Future Olympian. The National Final will take place in a time and format that places the utmost priority on the health and safety of participants. Since October more than 900 athletes from across the country have registered for the virtual version of the program.
In 2019 Abbotsford’s Lucie Romeo was named as one of 30 athletes awarded funding. Romeo, who played rugby for years with the Fraser Falcons and the Abbotsford Rugby Football Club, now trains with the National Next Generation Rugby team and receives funding support from RBC.
In its five years of existence, the program has tested more than 9,000 athletes and provided $1.7 million in funding support to 117 different athletes identified through the program.