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Canada Games Alumni Profile

Siobhan McLaughlin

4/30/20

by: Bill Potrecz, BP Sports Niagara

Alumni Spotlight: Siobhan McLaughlin

Siobhan McLaughlin’s Canada Summer Games resume is impressive.

The 42-year-old St. Catharines native has participated on four occasions, three as a coach and once as an athlete.

McLaughlin was a member of the Team Ontario rowing team for the 1997 Games in Brandon, Man., before retiring and shifting to coaching in 2005 (Regina), 2009 (PEI) and 2013 (Sherbrooke).

McLaughlin, now the senior girls rowing roach at Ridley College, has fond memories of all four Games.

“It’s a great energy. Everybody is so excited. It’s so fun to meet people from across Canada and it’s really neat to meet people from other sports,” she said.

McLaughlin vividly remembers watching track star and future Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse perform in Sherbrooke seven years ago. Then aged 18, De Grasse wound up winning Canada Games gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay for Team Ontario, just three short years prior to his record-setting performance at Rio 2016 — where he became the first Canadian sprinter to win three medals in a single Olympics.

“You get to know some other athletes and see other athletes competing before they reach the world stage. It’s an amazing opportunity and it’s so much fun. 

“It’s an amazing atmosphere with lots of energy. All of the volunteers make it an amazing experience.”

McLaughlin feels Martindale Pond on Henley Island will be a perfect venue to showcase the sport of rowing at the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games.

“It’s going to be so great. The best thing is for the athletes because they are going to have a world-class course to race on. The athletes are going to have an incredible experience on that course.

“At different Canada Games they have changed the racecourse depending on the host province. We’re really, really lucky it’s going to be a full 2,000 (metre) course because that’s what rowers are all about.”

McLaughlin said the athletes and coaches form a special bond as they prepare for and compete in the Games.

“Some of the people who I have rowed with in 1997 are still some of my closest friends to this day,” she said. “A lot of people go into coaching and you have a pretty intense experience with them because you’re building up for a couple of years.

“Then you have a training camp the year before, and then into a training camp going into the Canada Games. At the Games, everyone is living together so it's great memories from being an athlete, [to] being a coach. It’s pretty incredible.”


This report was filed by BP Sports Niagara, which is owned and operated by Bernie Puchalski and Bill Potrecz.

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