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Canada has its first ever World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals medal with a first place finish by Brienne Miller of Dartmouth’s North Star Rowing Club in the women’s solo event (CW1x).

Miller was dominant throughout the 2021 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals, which took place September 24 to 26 in Oeiras, Portugal. She won all of her races, taking first in the final over France’s Maya Cornut by a half a second.

It was only three years ago when Row Nova Scotia declared its intention to lead the charge for coastal rowing by investing time and resources into developing the sport that is a variant of traditional rowing, using larger, more stable boats that can handle rough water conditions.  

Row Nova Scotia has begun to leverage their geographic location and excellence in rowing and coaching to position themselves and Canada for the initiation of coastal beach sprints at the Olympics in 2028. The organization worked with the Lunenburg Rowing Club to host a Beach Sprints regatta on August 7th of this year, which was one of three national qualifying events for athletes hoping to compete at the 2021 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals in Portugal.

The races were fast and thrilling, and at day’s end, Brienne Miller and Emerson Crick, both of the North Star Rowing Club and the Nova Scotia Provincial Team and Antonia Chircop of Halifax Rowing Club had qualified for the next round of competition in Victoria, BC. Further, dozens more people got to try beach sprints for the first time, racing in a fun regatta after the morning’s national qualifying event.

In Victoria, Miller showed dominance once again, earning the right to represent Canada on the world stage. The rowing community in Nova Scotia was further excited when Row NS technical director Jenna Pelham Todd was selected to coach the Canadian team in Portugal.

Yesterday, Brienne Miller capped off a phenomenal weekend of racing by beating her competitor from France in the final in a very close, diving-for-the-finish nail-biter, and becoming a world champion. When her coach, Jenna Pelham Todd, ran to congratulate her, she said , “This hug is from all of Nova Scotia.”

Katie Edwards, president of Row Nova Scotia says, “This is an incredible result to cap off the first phase of our plans for coastal rowing in the province. Brienne’s gold-medal performance was not a surprise to any of us at home – but we are so pleased that she got to show off years of her hard work,” says Edwards. “This certainly injects a further note of excitement into all those working behind the scenes in Nova Scotia to make coastal rowing a reality, and we’re keen to move into our next phase of development.”

Media Contact: Patrick Thompson – pthompson@sportnovascotia.ca