For rowers Avery Collinson and Natalya Ariano, the BC Summer Games was all about new experiences.
While this weekend’s games are being hosted by Abbotsford, Fort Langley was the site of the rowing events for U17 male and female athletes.
Specifically, the often powerful currents along the Bedford Channel were where the rowers tested their technique and endurance.
The channel was uncharted waters for the pair of 14-year-old teammates who competed for Zone 2 (Thompson-Okanagan).
Both Collinson and Ariano train on Swan Lake with the Vernon Rowing and Dragonboat Club.
And while both are experiencing their first BC Summer Games, Collinson is somewhat familiar with what a provincial games has to offer.
Just a few months ago, Collinson competed in judo in the female 57 kg category during the 2016 BC Winter Games, held in Penticton this past February.
Fast forward to this weekend, and Collinson said her Summer games experience has been “pretty awesome,” noting that the Fraser River’s current makes it “a bit faster.”
Ariano said the level of competition was high. “There’s some really good rowers from Vancouver Island and stuff. It’s pretty hard.”
This, and the fact she’s a games newbie, is why Ariano entered the competition with an open mind.
“Just to do my best,” she answered, when asked about her goal going into the weekend. “I don’t really have a goal because I never raced before.”
Collinson echoed her teammate’s sentiment.
“I didn’t know what to expect because I’ve never done a race with everyone else in the province. I’ve done just races with people from Vernon and Kelowna, and that’s about it.”