Urabe to row for Team Canada in New Zealand
Peterborough native who rows at Western University is on Rowing Canada’s U21 team for Trans-Tasman Series
A Peterborough native is off to New Zealand next month to row for Canada in the Trans-Tasman Series.
Kyra Urabe, 18, is one of 10 young women on the Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) U21 team.
The team is competing in the TransTasman Series in Lake Karapiro, New Zealand from Aug. 23 to 25.
The series aims to help develop younger rowers, giving them a chance to gain high level competition experience.
Urabe will be competing in the lightweight double, open-weight quad and open-weight eight.
Urabe went to Kawartha Heights Public School in Peterborough until Grade 4, before transferring to Trinity College School in Port Hope for the rest of her schooling.
She started rowing in Grade 9 when she joined Trinity College’s rowing team.
“It was a really fun experience…it’s was great, positive, supportive atmosphere celebrating the little achievements,” she said of her first year.
By Grade 11, Trinity College had hired a new rowing coach, who pushed Urabe to work harder.
That summer she joined the Peterborough Rowing Club, training in the developmental program.
Urabe raced during her last year of high school, but wasn’t sure if she wanted to stick with it.
“I was in and out about it for a really long time,” she said.
But her high school coach encouraged her to keep with it, so she did.
The teenager competed on the Peterborough Rowing Club’s junior team that summer.
Then it came time for tryouts at Western University, where Urabe was going into her first year of science studies.
As her mother was driving her to London for the tryouts in August, Urabe had a lot of self-doubt.
She remembers telling her mom she didn’t think she was good enough and that she’d get chewed apart.
“I’m so glad I stuck with it and actually showed up.”
Urabe made the team and found Western’s training plan and the atmosphere really helped her to develop as an athlete.
“Also, my teammates are amazing. They helped me push harder … I honestly could not have made the team without my teammates.”
At the beginning of the year, Urabe started training heavily to prepare for testing for the 2018 Speed Orders.
She qualified for the national team selection trials and moved on to selection camp at the end of June.
On the last day of camp, Urabe learned she’d made the U21 team.
“I was really excited because I had put in a lot of work and it was really rewarding to know that it had paid off.”
This summer, Urabe’s goal is work on her speed and progress as much as she can before the upcoming competition and school year.
The Olympics aren’t quite on her radar yet, but she’s not ruling them out either.
For now, she’s just going to continue to enjoy her sport.
“I’m just happy to row, it doesn’t matter what team.”