It may seem like a stretch to draw a connection between basketball and rowing, but David Nicmans has shown an affinity for both sports.
In July, the 17-year-old Langley resident made the transition from hard court to water when he enrolled in a learn to row program with the Fort Langley Youth Rowing Society.
He found his passion, and since that time switched to rowing as his primary sport.
Nicmans said the physical attributes of being tall and strong are important for a rower.
"But the most important thing is the mental toughness," he added.
"You have to be willing to be able to push yourself - you just can't give up. You have to be able to break through all mental barriers and push yourself to the point of total physical exhaustion in a period of six to eight minutes, depending on how strong and fast you are over a two-kilometre course."
With the help of his coaches, Nicmans qualified to represent B.C. at the national rowing championships, held Nov. 9-11 at Elk Lake in Saanich.
He had to achieve specific times on ERG testing and on the water time trials in late August in order to qualify to represent B.C. at the national regatta.
Nicmans admitted being nervous going into the event.
"I expect a lot of myself, and I feel that I have higher expectations of myself than my coach and my parents," he said. "I want to be the best."
The wintery conditions at Elk Lake added to the challenge.
Race days were frosty, about one or two degrees Celsius at 7 a.m. when the boats were launching, Nicmans recalled.
"On [the] Friday the lake was a bit rough but that is to be expected at Elk Lake," he added. "Saturday, the lake was fairly calm, just cold."
A rowing newbie, relatively speaking, Nicmans held his own in a field of roughly 200 rowers representing nine provinces. Divisions included juniors, 18 & under, and a field of 18 junior men, including Nicmans.
After two days of competition, Nicmans placed second in the G Final for men's singles, which unofficially establishes him in a ranking of ninth place overall for Canadian junior men.
He achieved his goal of being in the top 10 in the country.
Nicmans is now raising the bar.
"I want to be in the top five next year and potentially No. 1," he said.
He also plans to attend university in B.C. and continue rowing as a member of a varsity team.
"I am hoping to step onto the international stage in the next couple years, and I do want to make the Canadian Olympic rowing team," Nicmans said.
The experience of playing basketball under his former hoops coach helped mold him into being a better rower, Nicmans believes.
"The determination and competitive spirit that my basketball coach, Mike Cohee, instilled in me from an early age has totally worked to my advantage in rowing," Nicmans said. "No excuses, no missed practices, no days off. I feel a lot of my success has been caused indirectly by the good habits that Mike helped develop in me."