Hillier earns World Championships invite
In the summer of 2015, when he was 14, Yannick Hillier took his first rowing strokes in a two-week summer Learn to Row course offered by the Bermuda Rowing Association.
Launching from the BRA’s boathouse on White’s Island, Hillier gained his rowing spurs in singles and doubles.
He had been encouraged to join by Rachel Smith, a Saltus Grammar School maths teacher and member of the BRA.
At the end of grade 10, when considering a boarding school for the next two years of his education, Hillier choose Brentwood College School on Vancouver Island, Mill Bay, British Columbia.
The school has an extensive and accomplished rowing programme boasting 23 Olympians.
From the sunny, warm waters of Hamilton Harbour, Hillier had to adjust to new conditions on Canada’s West Coast. Nine months later, over countless miles on the water and ergometer, several head races, and a handful of regattas, Hillier learned to sweep and refined his sculling technique.
Most recently he was selected to bow the Junior Varsity coxed quad at the Brentwood Regatta. In that event, which hosts 1,500 athletes, Hillier and his team-mates won gold.
“I really enjoy the cyclical nature of rowing,” he said. “Both the slingshotting of the shell through the drive and the glide on the recovery. When this is done in synchronicity with crew-mates, you feel the boat jump.”
Leading up to that, Hillier focused on training in the single in an attempt to qualify for the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He and his coach, Laryssa Biesenthal, an Olympic oarswoman and coach, travelled to Chile for the Americas Qualifier.
Although he did not qualify, Hillier’s performance at the regatta and training camp, held before the qualifier, earned him an invitation from International Rowing Federation to participate in a training camp and compete in the 2018 World Rowing Junior Worlds Championships in Racice, Czech Republic, in August.
The BRA recently received a National Junior Athlete Sponsorship for Hillier from the Department of Youth and Sport to assist in athlete development and exposure to overseas events.
This scholarship will assist Hillier in attending the FISA development training camp, where he will have a further opportunity to train against an international field before the Junior Worlds Championships.
In the interim he will be training out of the BRA boathouse in July. Hillier will return to Brentwood in September to complete his grade 12 year.
The BRA offers summer Learn to Row programmes from July 2 for novices and experienced rowers, youth and adult. The BRA can be contacted at www.BermudaRowingAssociation.com.