Larissa Werbicki • Saskatoon • Rowing
Larissa Werbicki wouldn't exactly describe herself as a morning person. For this reason, the sport of rowing was initially a tough sell. Her parents enrolled her and her sister in the Saskatoon Rowing Club's Spring Learn to Row program in 2006.
"To be totally honest, I was not thrilled at the thought of waking up at 5 a.m. to be on the water by 5:30 a.m.," Werbicki said. "After completing the first week, I realized how enjoyable the sport was and decided to continue rowing and become part of the Saskatoon Rowing Club. Waking up and going to rowing practice became easier each day because I was having fun learning the sport and began to grow passionate about rowing."
Over the years, Werbicki has remained passionate about rowing and the pursuit of the perfect stroke.
"Rowing is a sport where once you correct one aspect of your technique, there is an on-going list of new adjustments needed to perfect your stroke," she said. "I love the fact that you can always push yourself to new limits physically and mentally, while being surrounded by like-minded athletes."
Werbicki is a finalist in the 2017 Female Athlete of the Year for the Saskatchewan Sport Awards-an annual awards program of Sask Sport Inc. designed to celebrate and promote the outstanding achievements of Saskatchewan amateur athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers.
She placed sixth in the lightweight women's double sculls at the World Rowing U23 Championships. She won gold in the U23 lightweight single sculls and silver in the lightweight single sculls at the National Rowing Championships. Werbicki also won gold in three separate events at the Canadian University Rowing Championships (lightweight women's single sculls, lightweight women's double sculls, lightweight women's coxed four), becoming the first woman ever to win all three lightweight events (sculling and sweep disciplines).
"There is no better feeling for an athlete than to achieve the goals you have set for yourself," she said. "The thrill and excitement that comes with the achievement, fuels the drive to continue on with the sport, setting new goals and renewing your commitment to the sport."
Werbicki said there are a lot of people who have helped her along the way.
"I owe my rowing success to the amazing Saskatchewan coaching team of John Haver (Saskatoon) and Garett Mathiason (Regina)," she said. "They respectfully work together with athletes, parents, coaching staff and the Sask Rowing Association to provide a positive, safe and encouraging environment for all individuals to participate and develop one's rowing talent. They both truly love and appreciate the sport and want others to so as well."
What makes Larissa Werbicki #SaskProud?
"The support and encouragement people from Saskatchewan continue to give towards not only athletics, but also, the fine arts and other sectors. This demonstrates the commitment individuals have to the province in making it a great place to be part of a community. Anytime I have the chance to compete for Saskatchewan at a national level, I do so with pride and honor. There are so many awesome Saskatchewan people who have helped me to achieve my goals. I would like to say 'thank you' for the time, effort, knowledge, and dedication that all volunteers, coaches, and officials put towards all sporting events. Without the continued support from all sporting organizations and dedicated individuals, amateur sport would not be where it is today. I truly believe Saskatchewan has one of the best support systems in all of Canada."
For more information on our Saskatchewan Sport Awards program please visit www.sasksport.sk.ca/SportAwards. This program can also be found on social media in support of the #SaskSportAwards and the #SaskProud campaign on twitter @CSCSaskatchewan and Facebook CSC Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan Lotteries is the main fundraiser for amateur sport in Saskatchewan. On behalf of over 300,000 registered participants, Sask Sport Inc. and its membership of provincial sport organizations, thank you for your support.