A unique ex­pe­ri­ence

Is­land ath­letes com­pet­ing, stay­ing in Kenora, Ont., at Canada Games satel­lite vil­lage

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - Ja­son Mal­loy Ja­son.mal­loy@the­guardian.pe.ca www.Twit­ter.com/Sport­sGuardian

Don­ald DeWolfe and Tris­tan Rus­sell Ma­cLean can now say they have raced against a world cham­pion.

The Is­land row­ers com­peted against Trevor Jones, who re­cently won the un­der-23 world ti­tle, Tues­day at the Canada Games in Kenora, Ont.

“Lin­ing up next to him, who’s prob­a­bly six-foot-eight, 250 (pounds) was kind of scary, but it was a good ex­pe­ri­ence,” said the five-foot-11, 150-pound Rus­sell Ma­cLean.

“We’re rac­ing against some fu­ture Olympians here and it’s been a great ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ DeWolfe added.

As the row­ers ap­proached their team­mates and fam­ily watch­ing from the shore, they could hear the sup­port loud and clear.

“It’s a hard race, it’s a long race and you’re re­ally try­ing to put ev­ery­thing out there and you need some help,’’ Rus­sell Ma­cLean said. “When I heard them cheer­ing for me, I picked up the pace and I went re­ally hard be­cause I knew they had my back.”

Team P.E.I.’s six row­ers, two coaches and a man­ager flew with the Is­land con­tin­gent to Win­nipeg and then were bussed to Kenora, about 2 ½ hours east. They are in a satel­lite vil­lage in Kenora while most of the rest of the Is­land teams are in Win­nipeg.

“It’s kind of a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence, I guess, but it’s re­ally nice to con­nect with other row­ers,’’ said Rus­sell Ma­cLean, an 18-year-old Strat­ford na­tive.

While both said it would be nice to be in Win­nipeg to cheer on the rest of Team P.E.I., they have known for a while they would be in Kenora when the Games be­gan.

“We knew we weren’t go­ing to be there and just kind of ac­cepted it be­cause we came to row and that’s why we’re here.’’

The Is­land’s five-mem­ber sail­ing team is also in a satel­lite vil­lage in Gimli, Man., about 45 min­utes from Win­nipeg.

Satel­lite vil­lages are used when the trav­el­ling dis­tance to a venue is too far to make it fea­si­ble for par­tic­i­pants to travel from the ath­letes’ vil­lage. It is sim­i­lar to 2009 when some of the div­ing events were held in Hal­i­fax while the Games were hosted in Prince Ed­ward Is­land.

The last time P.E.I. had ath­letes in a satel­lite vil­lage was 2011 when Hal­i­fax was host­ing. Ath­letes com­pet­ing in down­hill ski­ing stayed in Truro, about 30 min­utes from the venue in Went­worth.

In Kenora and Gimli, the teams are stay­ing at high schools.

“The ac­com­mo­da­tions are ac­tu­ally great. The high schools are much bet­ter than I would have thought,’’ DeWolfe said.

This is the first row­ing na­tion­als for both DeWolfe and Rus­sell Ma­cLean. DeWolfe, an 18-year-old Corn­wall na­tive, said it has been a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“This is our first two-kilo­me­tre race. We’ve learned many things . . . and we’re im­prov­ing each time we do it,’’ he said.

“On­tario and B.C. are just on a com­pletely other level of com­pe­ti­tion,’’ added Rus­sell Ma­cLean. “It’s def­i­nitely chal­leng­ing, but we’re try­ing to do our best.”

The row­ers were able to take part in Fri­day’s open­ing cer­e­monies and it was easy to tell it had a big im­pact on the ath­letes.

“I was very en­er­gized at the open­ing cer­e­monies by the spirit of Team P.E.I. and I think that has car­ried through right to Kenora for my­self,’’ DeWolfe said.

Rus­sell Ma­cLean called the open­ing cer­e­monies an “in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence.”

“We were chant­ing in the tun­nel (be­fore en­ter­ing the arena) and I think we were the loud­est prov­ince,’’ he said. “I def­i­nitely learned that we are small, but we are very proud.’’

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Tris­tan Rus­sell Ma­cLean, left, and Don­ald DeWolfe com­peted in the dou­ble sculls row­ing com­pe­ti­tion Tues­day in Kenora, Ont. More Canada Summer Games cov­er­age on page B2.

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Team P.E.I. mem­bers and sup­port­ers cheer on Is­land ath­letes at the row­ing com­pe­ti­tion on Tues­day in Kenora, Ont.

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Molly Rain­nie, left, and Caro­line Tweel com­peted in the dou­ble sculls row­ing event Tues­day at the Canada Games.

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Ail­ish Ber­gin raced in sin­gle sculls Tues­day at the Kenora Row­ing Club as part of the Canada Games.

DeWolfe

Rain­nie

Caro­line Tweel

Ber­gin

Ma­cLean

Josh Tweel

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