Call it home slough advantage.
North Delta teenager Ty Yamamoto will have a paddle up on the competition during the 2012 BC Summer Games rowing contest being hosted at the Delta Deas Rowing Club—one of three events being held outside the host city of Surrey.
Yamamoto has been training out of this facility located in the serene waters of Deas Island Park for five years.
Initially, it was a medical injury, an over-rotated right hip, that first put Yamamoto in a rowing shell. Unable to run, his doctor recommended he try the upper body-focused aquatic exercise. The then-11-year-old admits it was awkward at first.
“Rowing is such an unnatural feeling sport,” says Yamamoto. “Because you are not looking where you are going.”
Delta Deas Rowing Club coach Tim McCormick recalls making an exception for the “youngest rower the club had seen,” saying Yamamoto was very keen.
A year later he was rowing competitively. But Yamamoto doesn’t paint a picture of intensity with paddles vigorously splashing through the water. Instead, he labels the sport as being relaxing and peaceful in nature.
Hopefully he can maintain that mindset during the BC Summer Games which starts next week.
A modest Yamamoto—who sometimes practises twice a day for a total of four hours, and in all weather conditions—says it wasn’t hard earning a spot on the Zone 4, five-member rowing team which encompasses Burnaby, Delta, New Westminster and Richmond.
“Delta’s such a non-urbanized zone. I think maybe 10 people tried out,” says Yamamoto.
Close to 60 rowing athletes and coaches will converge on the Delta Deas Slough during the two-day rowing competition. There will be three events—a 1000-metre time trial, a skills event, and a 500-metre match race—in three categories—women’s doubles, men’s doubles and mixed quad with coxswain.
Yamamoto says a minute and a half is a respectable time for the 500-metre race. But he is not too concerned with rankings.
“Everyone wins, everyone loses,” he says. “It comes down to a thousand of a second sometimes. It’s hard to stay on top for a season.”
He does however see the BC Summer Games as a stepping stone to national rowing team tryouts when he turns 18. There’s also the prospect of making new friends.
“Most rowers only get to the BC Summer Games once,” adds Yamamoto.
His dry land training for the Games consists of running 8 km every other morning and consuming 3,500 calories a day. Spaghetti has become his staple food.
McCormick, who is also the BC Summer Games Zone 4 male rowing coach, says the Deas Slough rowing course is ideal because it’s well-sheltered from the wind.
“For Ty, certainly it will be an advantage to row in a body of water he is comfortable with,” he adds.
The 2012 BC Summer Games rowing competition runs July 20 – 21 at 6090 Deas Island Rd. in Delta. For a complete schedule of events visit online at www.2012bcsummergames.ca.