By Adamo Marinelli
The Rideau Canoe Club sent the most athletes in its history to Niagara for this year’s edition of the Canada Summer Games and did they ever show out.
Combining their total medal hauls, athletes from the club won more than two-dozen neckpieces, including multiple by each athlete.
Maren Bradley, a 20-year-old kayaker from the club, and Chey Farquharson, its head coach, told the Sports Pages that RCC athletes’ success is a testament to the quality of the club overall.
“I think the Rideau Canoe Club is one of the best places to grow up and start training in all of Canada,” said Bradley, the winner of three gold medals and two silvers at the Games. “We have a really amazing group of coaches who helped us get where we are now and the programs are really supportive.”
“The Rideau women’s canoe program continues to be one of the strongest programs in Canada,” Farquharson added.
Bradley added that she feels the support Rideau Canoe Club athletes get from coaches create a family-like atmosphere at the club, helping them excel. Maren, the elder of two Bradley paddlers from the Rideau Canoe Club — along with her 18-year-old brother, Peter — was named a RBC Future Olympian for 2022 and will compete next for Team Canada at the U23 World Championships in Szeged, Hungary from Aug. 31 to Sep. 4.
Peter also won multiple medals at the Games, including two silvers and one bronze. In an interview with the Sports Pages, he said he never would have gotten to where he is in his sport if it wasn’t for the Rideau Canoe Club’s caring and close-knit training atmosphere.
“It is tough doing so much training,” he said. “But I think Rideau really established a fun way to do it so that athletes can can keep coming back to the sport.”
Peter has also had a very busy summer on the water, as he competed at the 2022 ICF Under-23 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Halifax just before the Canada Summer Games got underway.
In Niagara, he missed out on a gold medal by just under 0.3 seconds with teammate Matt O’Neill in the men’s C2 1000-metre race.
“It’s always fun when the races are super close like that,” he said, adding that he plans to use the outcome as motivation at the junior World Championships taking place alongside the under-23-years-old event.
Each of the Bradley siblings said they have several goals for their upcoming World Championships.
Maren will be racing in the K1 1500-metre — an Olympic distance — for the first time with a goal of making the event’s finals.
Peter is racing in the C1 500m, C1 1000m, and 5km race. Having been the youngest athlete in the 5km race in Halifax earlier in the summer, he said he’s excited to see how he matches up against those of his own age and experience at the worlds.
The Bradleys weren’t the only set of Rideau Canoe Club-trained siblings who put in dominant performances at the Canada Summer Games. Sisters Amelia Wojtyk and Zoe Wojtyk won a combined 10 medals.
The other four Rideau Canoe Club paddlers who competed at the Games were Evie McDonald, Janina Winnicki, Matt O’Neill and Ydris Hunter. O’Neill won six medals, including four silvers, plus one gold and one bronze. Hunter won four medals, including three silvers and one bronze. McDonald won three, including one silver and two bronzes. Winnicki won two bronze medals.
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