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Canada's Men's Eight Wins Gold in Belgium at the Under 23 Rowing World Championships
July 24, 2006

It was gold all the way down the Bloso regatta course today for Canada's Under 23 men's eight at the 2006 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Hazewinkel, Belgium.

Traditionally a strong event for Canada - last year the eight picked up a bronze after a tight race - this year there was no doubt the eight came to win gold.

"After the 500 (metre mark), we were about a boat length ahead and at that point we had a comfortable rhythm," said University of Washington student Will Crothers, 19, a former Canadian Junior Team member who was in the stroke seat of the boat. "Mark (the coxswain) called a great race and we just made sure we responded. We're ecstatic right now."

Along with Crothers of Kingston, Ont., the U23 men's eight members are coxswain Mark Laidlaw of Mississauga, Ont., Daniel Casaca of Toronto, Ont., Chris Aylard of Victoria, B.C., Jan Tize of West Vancouver, B.C., Max Wyatt of Victoria, B.C., Brendan Robinson of Brentwood Bay, B.C., Rob Gibson of Kingston, Ont. and Max Lang of Lumby, B.C.

Canada's time was 5:30.72, with Germany in second at 5:31.78, followed closely by Italy in bronze position in 5:32.67.

Canada had three other boats in the medal rounds today. The Canadian lightweight men's double of Cameron Sylvester of Caledon, Ont., and Tim Colson of London, Ont. was fourth in 6:26.67 - New Zealand, Italy and the Czech Republic picked up the medals in this event.

The women's four (Katrina Wechselberger of Vancouver, B.C., Stephanie Connolly of Victoria, B.C., Stephanie Morrison of Nelson, B.C. and Allison Kryszkiewicz of Victoria, B.C.) was sixth overall in a time of 6:51.90, and the men's pair (Liam Brennan of Perth, Ont. and Graham Rusk of Victoria, B.C.) also finished sixth in 6:49.56.

In a B final today, the lightweight men's four was third to finish ninth overall in a time of 6:09.13.

"I'm thrilled by the men's eight win," said Rowing Canada Aviron High Performance Director Alan Roaf, after witnessing today's races. "From a development point of view, we achieved a lot and exposed this young team to some excellent competition. Racing was incredibly tight and 20 countries won medals - I'm glad we were one of them."

The Junior team will attend the next World Championships in early August in Amsterdam, and the World Rowing Championships  the highlight of the international season  will be held in Eton, England, Aug. 20 to 27. Canadas senior Worlds Team will be announced after an Aug. 2 time trial in London, Ont.

Canadian A Final Results
2006 World Rowing Under 23 Championships
(2000 metres)

Women's four
1 AUS 6:39.97
2 BLR 6:43.60
3 POL 6:43.82
4 GER 6:48.09
5 RUS 6:51.19
6 CAN 6:51.90

Men's pair
1 GER 6:27.84
2 SCG 6:30.16
3 GBR 6:30.20
4 CZE 6:35.01
5 POL 6:38.79
6 CAN 6:49.56

Lightweight men's double
1 NZL 6:19.77
2 ITA 6:23.36
3 CZE 6:24.88
4 CAN 6:26.67
5 RUS 6:26.71
6 HUN 6:27.23

Men's eight
1 CAN 5:30.72
2 GER 5:31.78
3 ITA 5:32.67
4 ROM 5:36.19
5 USA 5:36.56
6 POL 5:38.90