The Arrow Lakes News has been following local rowing talent Ben de Wit through his achievements on the water since 2011, when he was part of the team that took the silver medal at the Pan American Games in Mexico. This month, de Wit is again making waves internationally as part of the team that snagged the bronze at the World University Rowing Championships in Gravelines, France.
“This was my first trip to France. The area we were in is all along the ocean and it reminded me of coastal B.C.. There’s the ferry service to England kind of like the ferries between Vancouver and Victoria,” de Wit said in an interview with the Arrow Lakes News.
De Wit started rowing in 2009 when he spotted a “Learn to Row” poster on campus at UBC. As luck would have it, the team was aggressively recruiting for novice rowers and de Wit fit the description they were after: tall and athletic. Having played hockey, soccer and basketball during his teen years at Nakusp Secondary School, he had also been looking to join a few clubs.
This year, he is back on the rowing team after a couple of years off for work. Several months ago, he was selected to join the 2014 International University Sports Federation Men’s 8 rowing team. Enrolling at school was a prerequisite to being on the team, so he is again at UBC now pursuing his master’s in Mining Engineering.
Bronze medal winners comprising this year’s contingent of nine (eight rowers and one Coxswain) included four students from the University of British Columbia, two from Ontario schools and one from Harvard University who is actually a Canadian.
When asked what de Wit enjoyed most about the trip he said, “Spending time with my teammates. I really liked meeting other athletes and coaches and seeing how they train. Rowing is a pretty small community and has a lot of great people.”
Canada was one of 33 countries participating in the FISU World Rowing Championships held at the Parc des Rives de l’Aa from September 12-14. Competition is open to all student athletes who are presently studying or who have graduated within the past year. Athletes must be between 17 and 28 years of age.