A pair of Kelowna rowers at different ends of their careers will be in the waters of Bled, Slovenia beginning this weekend at the 2011 World Rowing Championships.
Team Canada and Olympic medalist Scott Frandsen has come out of retirement to again chase his rowing dreams while Will Dean will take part in his first ever senior World Championships.
Frandsen is again teamed with Dave Calder in the same men’s pair that claimed an Olympic silver medal in 2008 in Beijing while Dean’s first foray into the senior worlds will come in the men’s four.
After winning the medal, Frandsen took a few years away from rowing only to return last year, looking to recapture the magic he and Calder created at the 2008 Olympics.
“It’s great to be back in the pair with Dave,” said Frandsen. “We have steadily improved over the past few months and are excited to race at worlds to see where we stand with our competition.”
As for Dean this year’s world’s is not his first international competition after the 2005 KSS grad took part in the world championships in the Under-23 division in 2008 and ’09.
But it is his first senior championship.
“I’m honoured to represent Canada at this level,” said Dean, 24, via e-mail. “I have great confidence in the other guys in my boat and I see the World Championships as an incredible opportunity.”
Frandsen and Dean are connected by more than just the fact they share a hometown. They both also attended the University of Berkley and now find themselves together on Team Canada.
“It has been awesome to see Will rise within the Canadian team as he gets the coaching he needs to use his incredible engine,” said Frandsen. “He knows how to work hard and the trick now is to use his power efficiently. Over the last few months he has become an integral part of the men’s four.”
Frandsen’s words come from experience as the veteran rower has seen it all in a long and successful rowing career. His first Olympics was 2004 as part of a heavily favoured men’s eight that failed to medal. Then in 2008 he returned from a serious back injury to win Canada’s first medal at the Beijing games with an inspired race in the men’s pair.
Following that he took a few years away from the sport (running two Ironmans in the process), only to return last year for a run at his third Olympic games: In London in 2012.
Frandsen’s story is an inspiration to Dean. In fact it was Frandsen who first convinced Dean to attend Berkley.
“I have the utmost respect for Scott,” said Dean. “He’s a great guy to train with. He’s a good teammate, and sets a very, very high standard.”
The World Rowing Championships get underway on Sunday and both Kelowna rowers will be looking to begin the trek to the London Olympics next year.
For Frandsen that would mean the chance at his second Olympic medal and for Dean it would be the realization of a dream.
But first the best boats in the world are waiting for both at the world rowing regatta.
“I want to make the 2012 Olympics but I try not to fixate on goals,” said Dean. “I believe in working hard and seeing where that takes you.”
Hopefully for both Kelowna rowers that will mean a trip to London next year.