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By Amanda Cupido

Ryerson’s rowing team brought back two medals from the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships this weekend.

The rowers headed to St. Catharines for the event, hosted by Brock University at the Royal Canadian Henley Course.

The men’s novice team won the first medal, coming in third. The team is made up of eight rowers.

The second medal went to Matt Buie who took home the silver in the men’s heavyweight singles. Coach Dominic Kahn says every rower put forth their best effort.

“It was awesome,” he says. “The whole weekend was phenomenal.”

The proud coach recalled the moment that Buie crossed the finish line in second place.

The team was chanting “Ryerson” until the race finished and a silence fell upon the spectators and teams at the course.

Everyone was shocked that Ryerson placed second above schools like Queen’s University and the University of Western Ontario, who are well-known for their rowing.

“It was the greatest moment of my coaching career,” Kahn says.

Buie, a fourth-year architecture student, trained all summer to get to the championships. He says he went into the race trying to stay ahead as long as he could.

“I completely surprised myself,” Buie says. “I wasn’t expecting to win.”

But the training was not the only part that led to his success.

“I’ve never had a coach as dedicated as Dom,” Buie says, who has played a variety of sports growing up. “This is the most amazing team I’ve been on.”

Although the women’s team did not place in the top three, Khan says “they rowed like gold medalists.”

Allison Loosley, a second-year graphic communications management student, placed fifth in the women’s lightweight singles category.

“I’m very happy with how the weekend turned out,” she says. “I’m excited to see where the team will go next year.”

Kahn has set up a program for the rowing team at Ryerson for the past three years. His main goal was to entice students to try the sport while providing a fun environment where they could learn about rowing.

This was the first year that beginner rowers were given the chance to try the sport and then choose if they wanted to be competitive or stay at a recreational level.

“We engage students who have never rowed before,” Kahn says. “The approach was welcoming and at the same time, inspiring.”

According to Kahn, Ryerson is now attracting students who come from high school rowing teams.

“Medalling gives a good name for Ryerson,” he says.

And since the season is over, the team will start their off-season training program. Kahn hopes to train the team in Florida over spring break.

“It’s a bonding experience,” Kahn says. “It lets them put their skills to practice.”

As for their next season, Kahn predicts Buie will win a gold medal and the team will continue to grow.

“Every year we turned it up,” he says. “If you want to improve, you have to constantly raise the bar.”

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