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Olympic legacy continues for Mill Bay’s Brentwood College

Delegation includes first grad to represent country other than Canada
Sydney Payne will continue Brentwood College School’s legacy of having a graduate at every Summer Olympics since 1976. (Kevin Light Photography/Copyright Rowing Canada)

Brentwood College School is once again proud to be sending alumni to the Olympic Games, including its first-ever athlete representing a country other than Canada.

The school has produced more than 25 Olympians, and has been represented on Canada’s rowing team in every Olympics since 1976. That streak will continue this year as Sydney Payne takes the seven seat in the Canadian women’s eight.

A 2015 Brentwood grad and Toronto native, Payne is understandably excited to be taking part in her first Olympics.

“What a big honour to be named to my first Canadian Olympic rowing team,” she said on the school’s blog. “These 2020 Olympic games are truly special — the entire world has struggled and sacrificed dealing with the pandemic this past year. This has been a very challenging extra year of training but we’ve persevered and have been really fortunate to be tucked away safely training here in Victoria the whole time.

“I’ve been truly inspired daily by the commitment, tenacity and motivation of the athletes around me, I will always be grateful to Brentwood and the pivotal role they played in developing my rowing career. What a beautiful place to go to school. I am beyond thrilled and so excited that this journey to the Tokyo Olympics is finally becoming a reality.

“We are stronger than we’ve ever been: let’s go race!”

Payne and her Rowing Canada teammates did much of their training for the Olympics on Quamichan Lake in North Cowichan. The rowing competitions at the Tokyo Olympics will take place between July 23 and 30 at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay.

Also representing Canada in Japan is triathlete Matthew Sharpe. Sharpe only spent his Grade 10 year, 2006-07, at the school before leaving to train at the National Training Centre in Victoria. He has deep roots at Brentwood, however, as both of his parents, 1975 grad Derek and 1978 grad Barbara (nee Dyson) attended, as did his brother Geoffrey.

The first Brentonian to represent a country other than Canada is Andre Jin Coquillard, who will suit up for South Korea’s men’s rugby sevens team. A 2009 grad, Jin Coquillard has an American father and a Korean mother, and attended Berkeley University in California after graduating from Brentwood.

Brentwood’s head rowing coach, Laryssa Biesenthal, is also bound for Japan, where she will coach Singapore’s lone rower, Joan Poh, in the women’s single sculls.

READ MORE: The legacy continues: 2016 marks 11 Olympics in a row for Brentwood and coach Tony Carr

READ MORE: Duncan’s Patrick Kay named to Olympic rugby team

Kevin Rothbauer

About the Author: Kevin Rothbauer

Kevin Rothbauer is the sports reporter for the Cowichan Valley Citizen
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