Rowing Knowlton – Building on our past


This was first posted in 2016 as the training for Elite Rowers took off in Knowlton

Knowlton has passed the test to become a rowing training centre for Canadian Olympic and World Championship rowers. Weekend camps will now take place here once a month year round.


On the weekend of April 9th, 2016, five coaches, two kinesiologists and seventeen athletes arrived for the first ever Olympic/World Championship rowing camp in Knowlton. Organizer and coach, Gavin McKay, his partner, Andrea Wilson, and one of their stu- dents, Gabby Smith, talked about their plans.

Gavin and Andrea bought their new home in Knowlton in 2014 and moved in last summer. Their intention is to establish Knowlton as a major rowing training centre. Gavin is responsible for identifying and developing Quebec rowing talent that has the potential of representing Canada.

Why here?

Andrea’s response was “Training at this level is a lonely job. Getting up at dawn and punishing your body takes a special commitment. Being able to do this in public, sur- rounded by people that you know, adds a certain something. It’s like rowing for your family.”

How does the community stack up?


Gavin’s response was enthusiastic. “The community has opened their arms to the row- ers. Mary White organized a network of local hosts that put up all the visitors.


Alan Gauthier hosted training sessions at the Athletica Gym.


Gerry Moar granted the rowers access to the lake via the the Marina slip. Knowlton Academy gave them access to the gym. Local restaurants, such as Star Café, Buzz and Le Relais, all fed the group.”

How did the first week-end go?

“There were some incredible performances over the weekend,” Gavin said. “Gabby Smith smashed a previous personal best on a 1,000 meter test by nearly four seconds. Other up and coming athletes, Marilou Duvernay-Tardif and Hugo Boiselle, had outstanding performances on their peak power tests. Expect to see good things from these two in the near future.”

What about the future?

Gavin was clear that most of the regular rowing training takes place at the Olympic Basin in Montreal. However, he can now see a role for Knowlton. “The early morning on the lake, when the water is like glass and the light is magical, can never be replicated in the basin in Montreal. I can see more rowers coming here. I can see regattas. I can see the kids here taking it up.”


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