Trevor Jones wins U23 single sculls rowing world championshipStory from M. Davies, Peterborough Examiner
A 19-year-old Burleigh Falls man twice turned away from the Row to Podium program is now a world champion.
Trevor Jones won the men's single sculls gold medal at the World Under-23 Rowing Championships in Bulgaria on Sunday. Jones set a personal best 6:49.35 to beat South Africa's Kyle Schoonbee by two-and-a-half seconds.
“I wanted to just stick to my plan,” Jones said, on a live blog on the world rowing website. “I stuck with the pack off the start. I didn't want to drop off. Then I attacked in the middle 1,000 and just emptied the tank. it was a good race.”
Jones improved on his field-best semifinal time Saturday by six seconds.
Back in Canada, Jones's Row to Podium coach Carol Love watched the race on her phone in the early morning hours. She's in London preparing Grace VandenBroek for the World Junior Rowing Championships in Lithuania.
Love said it was a gritty effort by Jones and a smart tactical race.
“We knew he had a chance at the podium,” said Love. “He went to the World Cup two weeks ago in Lucerne, Switzerland where he raced some of the fellows he was racing at U23 championships. That gave him a lot of confidence going into the U23's. As the week went by, from the heats to quarters to semis, it became pretty apparent to him he had a shot at the gold.”
Jones has come a long way since he began working with Love three years ago after she twice turned him down for Row to Podium at the Trent Athletics Centre and Peterborough Rowing Club.
She first tested Jones in Grade 9 at Lakefield College School and advised him join PRC to learn to row.
“He really didn't have muscle on him, he was just a skeleton,” Love said.
Two years later he tested again but his aerobic base wasn't where it needed to be. She advised he ride his bike home to Burleigh Falls from PRC daily to build up endurance.
“He didn't really fit into what I was doing quite yet. He had to grow a little bit more. He didn't go away. He just kept coming back and after a couple of years proved he was ready.”
Jones asked to be tested again in Grade 12.
“At that point the lights went on,” said Love.
His first summer with her he made Canada's quad for the World Junior Rowing Championships in Rio. Last summer he rowed at the world U23 championships in a double that finished fifth.
“This year at the camps he stood out above all the U23's,” Love said.
To see him claim a world title was “super-exciting,” she said.
“It's very exciting for the whole development program to see an athlete we found, who was developed in the program, now a world champion,” said Love.
Jones will return home Monday for a short visit before leaving Friday to represent Ontario at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.