CHARLOTTETOWN – Will Bryden admits he has only rowed once in the waters around Prince Edward Island.
© Submitted photo
Will Bryden, left, and Mark Alm competed at the World University Games in South Korea.
But, in October, he will row for P.E.I. at the national rowing championship.
Bryden is coming off his first taste of international competition at the World University Games in South Korea. He got a chance to talk about the experience during a two-week visit to P.E.I. in August, including meeting up with members of the Island’s only rowing club.
The varsity rower says he’s excited at the support he’s received from Rowing P.E.I. since his parents relocated to the Island in the fall of 2014.
“They have been amazing,” says Bryden. “I’m really excited to be connecting with Rowing P.E.I. this summer while I’m here spending time with my family.”
Bryden first met members of Rowing P.E.I. at the 2013 Canada Games, when he was competing for Nova Scotia. Bryden did well at the Games, catching the eye of P.E.I. coach Mike Gibson, who’s now president of Rowing P.E.I.
When Will’s parents, Lea and Russ Bryden, moved to P.E.I., the family contacted the Charlottetown-based club.
“We were thrilled to find out that a rower of Will’s calibre was going to have connections with us here on P.E.I.,” says Gibson.
While his parents were moving to Charlottetown, Will was on his way to Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., to pursue rowing at the varsity level. In June, he was selected for the FISU Summer Universiade in South Korea.
“Competing in South Korea was a really good experience,” says Bryden of his first taste of international competition. He and his rowing partner, Mark Alm, also of Brock University, competed in the men’s double sculls.
“We ended up coming 10th overall, which looking back was a good result for us,” Bryden explains. “Many of the boats that beat us were senior national teams, so even just getting to line up against them was a positive experience.”
Along with competing, Bryden has been learning to coach, mentoring young athletes in the sport that he hopes will continue to offer him opportunities like the competition in South Korea.
“We’re especially pleased that our young rowers can hear about Will’s international competition and see that they too could potentially have those kinds of experiences,” says Gibson.
As an added bonus, Bryden will be representing P.E.I. at the national rowing championships this fall in St. Catharines – giving him a “home-water” advantage.
Bryden was also the beneficiary of some P.E.I. government support. He received $2,000 from the Elite Athlete Assistance Fund towards his travel costs to compete at the 2015 Universiade in South Korea.