A Canadian Armed Forces team of officer cadets and recent graduates of the Royal Military College of Canada will be participating in the King’s Cup at Henley Royal Regatta.
The Henley Royal Regatta, an international rowing competition held annually since 1839, except during the First and the Second World Wars, will take place from July 3 to 7 near London, England.
Following the First World War, the highlight of the event was The King’s Cup in 1919, a rowing competition between military crews – consisted primarily of soldiers waiting to return home from the war – from Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
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“This race honors the past, contributes to the alliances of today, and builds towards the future,” said Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. “The Canadian Armed Forces is honored to again be part of The King’s Cup, to have the opportunity to commemorate sacrifices made in the First World War, and, as this will be the first time male and female military athletes crew together in an elite international competition, to demonstrate the progressive and inclusive ethos needed to be an effective military force in today’s world.”
This year’s organizers are marking the 100th anniversary of that 1919 race by inviting the original participating countries along with teams from Germany and the Netherlands.
The Canadian RMC crew of eight rowers and one coxswain will compete in a recreation of the original race event at Henley-on-Thames west of London, accompanied by two spare rower and two coaches.
The rowers are 2nd Lieutenants Billy Campbell, Drew Spinney, and Liam Cooke; Officer Cadets Frédérique Santerre, Liam Vickers, Ethan Lockie, Brittany Cooper, and Deven Deguara; and Naval Cadets Jack Murphy and Shamus Mountford. The coxswain is Officer Cadet Adam Blok and the team is coached by Paul Overvelde and Stephen Lutz.
“I’m proud that Royal Military College officer cadets were selected to represent Canada in this historic competition,” said Brigadier-General Sébastien Bouchard, Commandant, Royal Military College of Canada. “Physical fitness is one of the four pillars of RMC because, as young officers in the Canadian Armed Forces, our graduates must always be ready to overcome all physical challenges anytime, anywhere.”
This year will be the first time male and female military athletes crew together in an elite international competition and all King’s Cup crews will race in identical new boats gifted to the race and displaying the national colours of each participating nation.
“Although our rowers compete regularly against civilian universities in Canada, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to face other military crews and to represent the Canadian Armed Forces at an elite international event,” said Darren Cates, Director of Athletics, Royal Military College of Canada. “It may be offseason from our university rowing schedule, but our crew is looking forward to facing this world-class challenge. Just like every soldier rowing in the Canadian boat did 100 years ago, our student athletes will wear the maple leaf proudly, and endeavour to upset some of the more highly touted teams.”
For more information, visit Canada.ca.