Langerfeld's star rising on the water

University of Victoria rowers, including Parksville’s Kai Langerfeld (second from left) work out in preparation for Pan-American national rowing team tryouts. Langerfeld is an up-and-comer on the scene, making a name for himself on the water.  - University of Victoria
University of Victoria rowers, including Parksville’s Kai Langerfeld (second from left) work out in preparation for Pan-American national rowing team tryouts. Langerfeld is an up-and-comer on the scene, making a name for himself on the water.
— image credit: University of Victoria

VICTORIA — From Victoria comes word University of Victoria rower Kai Langerfeld of Parksville posted a record-smashing time of 5:56 in two-kilometre erg training (done on a rowing machine), the fastest time ever by a Vikes student-athlete in the 46-year history of UVic rowing team.

Kai’s time eclipses the old record set by Darren Barber, a 1992 Olympic gold medallist. Barber set the old record time with the Vikes — a 2,000-metre split — during a 2,500-metre erg (rowing machine) session.

“It definitely feels great,” said Langerfeld, a rising star on the Rowing Canada radar who hopes to make the Pan-American national rowing team, which is expected to be announced in early September.

“This summer was a little different for me from last summer as I’ve been training for Pan Americans. I’m pretty happy with our team thus far.”

Langerfeld said he realizes the importance of erg training as part of the overall development of a rower.

“There’s a saying that all the coaches use is that ‘ergs don’t float’,” Langerfeld said. “The only reason we do erg and dry-land training is to get more speed on the water. If you are strong on the erg, you’ll get coaching on the water. You’ll come along faster if you put the time and effort into it.”

And Langerfeld is a bright star on a deep and talented UVic squad which aims to win its third consecutive national title this fall.

“Our goal right from the finish of the last CUs (national university rowing championship) was to go to Ontario and win six gold medals win a gold in every category in every race,” Langerfeld added. “We started that plan last November and since we’ve all been working together to achieve that, and I think we have a shot at doing it and winning the banner for the third straight year.”

The 2011 Canadian University National Championships for rowing will be held in Welland, Ont., in November. UVic hosted in 2010 and won both the men’s and women’s team titles. Langerfeld was a part of last year’s championship and, entering his sophomore season, hopes to help the Vikes back to national glory.

“Our summer club team did very well and it sets us up very well for the rest of year, setting us up for a good run at CUs in the fall,” Langerfeld said. “A lot of the guys had a really good summer and have been training really hard.”

His rise to rowing prominence is a bit of a rags to riches story.

“Kai is a great example of talent identification, working with top athletes and making the transition from novice rower to international rower,” said assistant coach Barney Williams. “It was apparent he was an exceptional athlete … Kai had never stroked before, with the coach telling him what he can do, it’s a great message to other athletes.”

Langerfeld, a second-year social sciences student at UVic, said he is very grateful to the support he has received throughout his time at school. He was first approached about rowing just before he began workouts with the UVic novice program — a performance program that aims to train and develop the next varsity-level rowers. Paul Hawksworth, a Rowing Canada coach who is also an assistant with the Vikes, approached Langerfeld during a weight workout at Gorge gym.

“He talked about rowing and pretty much got me going in September of that year,” Langerfeld said. “For the next year and a half to follow, I worked to get on the varsity team. It’s been a good progression for me. I had a really good couple of years training and working hard and it’s starting to pay off now. It feels pretty good.”

Langerfeld’s personal-best record is the latest rowing highlight of the summer. The UVic rowing summer club won their first Efficiency Trophy since 2001 at the Royal Canadian Henley earlier last month — awarded to the top overall rowing club in Canada.

— News Staff with files from James Nielsen and Andy Watson, UVic.

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