Fast mover

Kenn Oliver
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Just two years after joining the St. John's Rowing Club, Tyler Young is vying for a spot on national junior team

A little over two years ago, Tyler Young was little more than a better-than-average midget-aged hockey player.

He played at the all-star level, suited up with his Prince of Wales Collegiate high school team and enjoyed a two year stint in the Doug Marshall AAA league.

Tyler Young of St. Johns, shown after winning the gold medal in the senior male 72-kilogram singles at the Canadian Secondary School Rowing Association's regatta in St. Catharines, Ont., earlier this month, will soon attend the national junior rowing team

A little over two years ago, Tyler Young was little more than a better-than-average midget-aged hockey player.

He played at the all-star level, suited up with his Prince of Wales Collegiate high school team and enjoyed a two year stint in the Doug Marshall AAA league.

So it might surprise some to learn that Young is competing for a spot on the national junior men's sliding-seat rowing team, and a chance to represent Canada at the junior worlds in August.

"Sometimes, I don't really believe it," contends Young, who is off to the national junior team's selection camp in Victoria, B.C. later this month, less than two years after joining the St. John's Rowing Club.

St. John's rowing coach John Smyth says without a training partner at his level in the capital-city region, it was hard to determine how much Young improved through the off-season.

That changed earlier this month in St. Catharines, Ont., where Young won a gold medal at the Canadian Secondary School Rowing Association's regatta.

"I knew Tyler was moving faster than he ever had before, but it wasn't until he got up there and started rowing in his heats and blowing everyone away," Smyth said.

"To me, it solidified that in his age group, in the lightweight category, he's the best in the country."

Following the St. Catharines regatta, Young was invited to the national junior trials in Welland, Ont.

After finishing second in the time trials, he handily won his semifinal heat setting the stage for a fourth place showing - among 38 rowers - in the men's final. What's more, the national junior trials don't separate rowers based on age or weight class.

"I was a little bit surprised," admits Young.

Not Smyth.

"Anything you throw at him, he can get through it."

This past winter, Young endured countless hours of intense training at the Provincial Training Centre's Noel Browne High Performance Centre with trainer Jerome Brennan, and working through a fitness regimen designed by Smyth.

Much of his training, however, has been done solo.

"As of the fall of last year, (Tyler) has been a one-man show as far as training goes," Smyth said. "Personally speaking, I could barely get to the gym and do a long ergometre (rowing machine) piece if I didn't have a partner. He does it on a regular basis.

"He has a way of motivating himself. He's a special kind of athlete ... one of a kind."

Young admits it was sometimes hard getting through the winter alone in the gym, but the curiosity of how far he could go in the sport kept him motivated.

"I kept thinking, I could have a shot at something pretty big eventually," he said. "I didn't know where I was going to end up at the end of this process, but I wanted to see how high I could get."

When April rolled around, when most rowers were at least a month away from hitting the water, Young and Smyth were at Quidi Vidi Lake "day in, day out" at 6 a.m.

"It's easy for me to come down in the coach boat and give direction, but for him to get out and produce was quite a feat," Smyth says.

"That was inspiring to watch."

Further proof of his readiness this spring came about during the club's "race night", when St. John's Rowing Club members in various shells do spring work between the men's and women's kegs on the Quidi Vidi course. In one three-piece set, Young challenged the Canada Games silver medal-winning girls foursome of Jane Brodie, Alyssa Devereaux, Stephanie Davis and Allison DeLong. He bested them twice.

"They tried to rub it in my face because they beat me by one second on the last race," Young says of his female counterparts.

Even if Young is unsuccessful in his bid to for the worlds, he's guaranteed a spot on the Canadian team headed to the CanAmMex - a three-country rowing competition between Canada, the States and Mexico - taking place in Oakridge, Tennessee.

koliver@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Rowing Club, Canadian Secondary School Rowing Association, Provincial Training Centre Noel Browne High Performance Centre

Geographic location: St. John's, Canada, Victoria Welland Quidi Vidi Lake Mexico Oakridge Tennessee

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  • C.O'Keefe
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    Congratualations Tyler, your hard work dedication and determination will serve you well through all aspects of your life. Good luck on the world stage.

  • C.O'Keefe
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    Congratualations Tyler, your hard work dedication and determination will serve you well through all aspects of your life. Good luck on the world stage.