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New WRC head coach has big ambitions

Steven Taylor hopes to help local club become best in Canada

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Steven Taylor has a clear vision for the future of the Winnipeg Rowing Club — to help make it the best facility of its kind in the nation.

"It’s simple. Our overarching goal is to make it the best rowing club in Canada," said Taylor, 31, who began his role as the club’s new head coach on Nov. 16.

"We’re building a structure here and providing grassroots programming. We want to make it really easy for Winnipeggers to take part in rowing programs, whether it’s for fun or on a competitive level."

When it comes to rowing, Taylor knows a thing or two. His coaching career highlights include Manitoba Rowing’s first gold medal at the Canada Summer Games in 2009, three golds (and a WRC record) at the 2008 Royal Canadian Henley Regatta and five medals for Manitoba Rowing at the Western Canada Summer Games in 2007.

The Wolseley resident said part of the mandate of his new position is to help increase the visibility of the St. Boniface-based club, which was founded in 1881 and is located at 20 Lyndale Dr.

"One of the challenges right now is raising awareness and letting people know we exist and that we’re here," Taylor said.

"Winnipeg is a growing city with a population that will one day exceed a million people, but we’re not on the radar of the average person."

Taylor said one of his biggest roles as head coach will be to work with the club’s board and volunteer coaches to "build a system and structure."

"If 100 people turn up to the club one day, we want to be able to accommodate you. Right now, it’s a look, listen and learn mindset, as we look to build a structure and framework for the club."

Taylor said despite the onset of winter and the city’s soon-to-be-frozen rivers, the club operates on a year-round basis.

"We have an indoor training centre, which includes a weight room, and we’re centrally-located in the city," Taylor said, noting he watched the first indoor practice session of the season on his first day on the job.

"We’re here and it’s a great place to be involved with. We have members aged from 12 to 80, so we’ve got a spot for you. For some people, it’s a second home."

Taylor is a certified NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program) coach who has been involved with WRC for more than 15 years, both as a competitor and a coach.

Organizers say in light of Taylor’s appointment, Brent Figg will focus his efforts on Manitoba’s high performance athletes, building teams to compete at various provincial events including the National Rowing Championships, Western Canada Summer Games and Canada Summer Games, as well as supporting and fostering rowing talent, while working with Taylor to help provide the best training options for rowers in the province.

The club will hold its annual general meeting on Sat., Nov. 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the Winnipeg Winter Club (200 River Ave.).

For more information, visit rowwrc.wordpress.com

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Twitter: @lanceWPG

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