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Vernon athletes row to podium places at early season regatta

Four podium spots were claimed by Vernon Rowing and Dragon Boat Club members and graduates
Marijn Butterfield (back) and Elena Masyte (front) dock after their silver medal performance in the U19 women’s double scull final A at the Elk Lake spring regatta in Victoria. (Contributed)

Snow may still be falling around the province, but that hasn’t stopped the over 400 rowing crews from getting their season started early.

Last weekend in Victoria, the Elk Lake spring regatta took place, where four boats that made it on the podium had rowers from Vernon’s Rowing and Dragon Boat Club (VRDBC).

The University of Victoria’s rowing team has four graduates from the VRDBC, and Natalie Araino, one such graduate, claimed a gold in the Novice Eight race.

Jonas Masys, from VRDBC, was the fastest among the U17 Men’s Single Sculls category, rowing in extremely rough water where every wave was breaking over the boat (or in rowing terms, the gunwale).

UVIC and Vernon local Elena Masyte came second in the U19 Women’s Double Scull, along with her partner Marijn Butterfield. Masyte and another VRDBC graduate, Annika Van Vliet finished third in the Women’s Novice Eight race.

VRDBC’s Danica Ariano grabbed a fourth place for UVIC in the Women’s Open Pair Race while the clubs Christa Akins had an impressive race in the Para Single category.

All these athletes started their rowing career on Swan Lake with VRDBC, many without any prior rowing experience.

VRDBC will officially start their season in May, and is accepting registrations for the upcoming programs at

For over 26 years, the VRDBC is a hub for rowers and paddlers on Swan Lake. It consistently strives to provide affordable opportunities for the local community to engage in physical activity and improve their physical and mental well being. Rowing is a low impact, low injury sport that is especially welcoming for late starters.

READ MORE: North Okanagan Para swimmers rock B.C. Winter provincials


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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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