Avalon Wastenays was named RBC Training Ground regional champion.

Campbell River athlete shines at Olympic camp

Avalon Wasteneys, a 19-year-old University of Victoria varsity rower and Campbell River product, beat a field of 100 of the province’s top athletes at a Canadian Olympic Committee development program.

Wasteneys was named RBC Training Ground regional champion last weekend.

Wasteneys went into the Vancouver regional final after being named top female competitor at the Feb. 19 regional qualifier in Victoria, according to a press release from RBC Training Ground.

Wasteneys won a silver medal as part of the women’s 8 boat at the Canadian University Rowing Championships in November 2016 (helping the team to a third place finish at the event).

She competed against the top qualifiers from regional events held in Burnaby, Prince George, Langley, Kamloops and Victoria.

With the victory, Wasteneys earns Olympic ‘fast-track’ funding from RBC (up to $10,000 for up to three years, to be administered by Rowing Canada) and a trip to the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang (to experience a Games first-hand).

Wasteneys, who was born in Campbell River, first found national success as a cross-country skier (as part of the BC ski team, she won silver in Junior Girls 1 division at 2014 Cross Country Ski Nationals in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland).

In the summer of 2015, she made the decision to switch sports from skiing to rowing.

RBC Training Ground is the Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC) and RBC initiative to bring new and undiscovered athletes into Canada’s Olympic talent pool.

The program gives local athletes no matter what sport they are involved in the chance to test their strength, speed and endurance in front of officials from 11 Olympic sports, and earn ‘Future Olympian’ funding from RBC.

In 2016, the first year of the program, 25 athletes earned funding and are now working with National Sports Organizations to help bring their Olympic dreams to life.