Langley athletes ready to row for Canada in Europe

Kristin Bauder and Lisa Roman will be pulling their rowing paddles in international waters, starting this weekend.

The Langley athletes, both 24, share a house in London, Ont., where they are sharpening their rowing skills at the London Training Centre.

Last Saturday, June 14 they boarded a plane bound for Europe.

This weekend, June 20-22, they’ll be in Aiguebelette, France, the site of the World Rowing Cup II.

As of Tuesday, Bauder, Roman, and their teammates were training in Italy in preparation for the first World Cup competition.

Roman, a graduate of D.W. Poppy Secondary, and Bauder, an R.E. Mountain Secondary grad, are part of the senior national team taking part in World Rowing Cup II and III.

After the competition in France, they’ll continue on to Lucerne, Switzerland, to compete from July 11-13 at World Rowing Cup III, which concludes the prologue to the 2014 World Rowing

Championships taking place Aug. 23-31 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The Langley pair are in elite company. The senior national team members named by Rowing Canada Aviron includes 10 London 2012 Olympians.

Bauder, from the Western Rowing Club, and Roman, who represents the Western Rowing Club and University of the Fraser Valley Rowing, are vying for spots on the 2016 Olympic team.

This will be Bauder’s first experience with the national team. She hopes to make her international debut at World Cup III in Switzerland.

Roman’s strategy, meanwhile, is straightforward: “to execute our race plan to the best of our ability and win some medals. The competition is never easy. I believe it will mostly likely be harder than it was last year and will get tougher the closer we get to the Olympics.”

Athletes are vying for spots on Canada’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games squad in the following categories: women’s sweep group, women’s pair (W2-), women’s four (W4) and women’s eight (W8+).

Roman and Bauder are relatively late bloomers in their chosen sport. They both started rowing in university.

“[The] University of the Fraser Valley had a rowing tryout and a friend thought I should try it,” Roman recalled. “My first competition was at UBC.”

Bauder started rowing through both the Talent Identification program with Rowing Canada and Simon Fraser Rowing Club at Burnaby Lake in the summer of 2011.

“I used to be a flatwater kayaker and was taking a bit of a break to finish university and had the intentions of returning to kayaking, however, I quickly found rowing and things took off from there,” Bauder said.

After two years of rowing with University of the Fraser Valley, Roman transferred to Washington State University on a scholarship.

The sport quickly became more important for Roman just before she moved to the U.S. That’s when she was selected to compete for B.C. at the Canada Summer Games, giving Roman her first taste of serious competitive rowing.

In Bauder’s case, rowing became serious after Roman returned home from summer racing in Europe on the senior development crew at Royal Henley.

“Our coach at the time, John Wetzstein, decided we should try rowing together in a pair,” Bauder said. “Lisa was still a little skeptical as I was still new to rowing at the time, but we quickly developed as a crew.”

Wetzstein has had a huge influence on both Bauder and Roman. He introduced Bauder to rowing.

“He asked to run a few tests with me through the Talent Identification program and I ‘passed’ all the height and aerobic parameters, and after that he had me out on the water in a single,” Bauder said.

Wetzstein invested time into helping Bauder and Roman prep for nationals.

“He was confident in our ability to race fast before we were even sure of it,” Roman said.

Roman and Bauder began training together for the national rowing Championships in November 2012.

After a strong third-place result at the 2012 nationals, they were asked by Canadian rowing coach John Keogh if they would like to train with the national team. The team trains in Ontario, hence the move east.

Rowing is a full-time endeavor for both, however Roman works with an autistic teenaged boy for a couple hours a week.

While each day is different, they train between four and six hours Monday to Saturday, and sometimes Sunday, as well.

“Yes, this is our full time job,” Bauder said.

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