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Banff rower’s natural flair, commitment powers way to Canada Games

“I think we have the ability to have multiple podium finishes for this team."

BANFF ­– Only two years in and a local rower is proving to be a natural as she joins Team Alberta at the Canada Summer Games from Aug. 6-21 in Niagara, Ontario.

When the pandemic hit, Banff’s Kiana Worobey was without a sport.

Pool time dried up for the Bow Valley Riptides swimmer and it left an athletic void that needed to be filled.

“By July [2020], the pools were still closed, so I decided to a do a learn to row camp,” said Worobey, 18. “I was kind of better at rowing than I was at swimming, so I just decided to continue with it.”

Alex Marchuk, Calgary Rowing Club’s junior program coach remembers the Banff teen fitting onto the team right away and making a seamless transition into the sport. Worobey is a coach's dream athlete: dedicated and “just trains her butt off.”

“She came in just with a ton of strength and already had a good athlete mindset – knowing how to train and knowing how to compete,” said Marchuk.

“She’s had big goals for herself and for her to drive essentially three hours every time we have a practice [in Calgary], it just shows her level of commitment, which I also think has been a really big payoff for her.”

Also the coach of Team Alberta’s rowers in Niagara 2022, Marchuk said rowing is a late-entry sport, meaning one usually picks it up in their mid to late teens.

“The thing with rowing is you’re just learning all the technical components of it,” said Marchuk. “You can teach all the technical components, but you can’t teach the athlete mindset, and Kiana came in with that.”

Creating power through her legs to cut through the water, Worobey’s raw strength from a swim background has been an asset to her quickly developed abilities.

In order to make Team Alberta for the Canada Summer Games though, the Banffite rocked a 2-kilometre erging fitness test on a rowing machine earning a good enough time to move to an on-water qualification process. Her quick 2 km erg time also paved the way for her to claim a spot on the University of Tennessee's Division 1 women’s rowing team, where she’ll attend this fall.

“For me, still being a newer rower and starting during COVID when there were no competitions, I’m honestly just trying to have fun at a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Worobey said.

There are multiple rowing events featured at Niagara 2022 and Alberta’s coaches are finalizing crew combos. The province can send up to 26 male and female rowers.

There’s major confidence among Alberta’s coaching staff that the teams will fight for podiums.

“I think we have the ability to have multiple podium finishes for this team,” said Marchuk. “I would say it’s a really strong team from Alberta we’re sending.”

Four from Bow Valley attending CSG

Four athletes from Canmore and Banff are set to compete at Niagara 2022.

Representing Alberta are locals Corey Banks in basketball; Kahlen Anderson in triathlon; Evvia Belireau in volleyball; and Kiana Worobey in rowing.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

Jordan Small joined the Outlook in 2014 and covers the vast world of sports in the Bow Valley. A Barrie, Ont. native, he also wrote for RMO's Mountain Guide section and the MD of Bighorn beat.
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