By Nolan Kowal, Sport Performance Specialist

As a young teen, Abby Dent was looking to get involved in another sport. The all-round athlete already played hockey and volleyball but was interested in trying something totally new.

Rowing Canada came to her school and did some basic testing with students in gym class. They took note of Dent’s height and then her testing numbers looked great. The rest you could say is history as Abby Dent has since dedicated herself to pushing her limits in the sport of rowing.

The Kenora Rowing Club member was proud to represent Manitoba in the 2017 Canada Summer Games and says that was her first “really big” competition.

The Toba alumna is looking forward to another opportunity to represent our province in Niagara in 2021 but in the meantime has a few other important goals.

In August, Dent wore the maple leaf as a member of Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in Tokyo. Dent describes the entire experience as simply amazing, noting the team was away for five weeks of training prior to the championships.

The total of seven weeks away from home was a time for growth and independence and she was proud of her sixth-place finish in sculls. Her goal is to get back to worlds next year so she can gain more experience and wants to medal.

While training on and off the water in 2019, Abby also fit in some unique fitness testing as part of the RBC Training Ground initiative. This national program provides an opportunity for any young athlete (14-25) to test their strength, speed, power and endurance in front of officials from Olympic sports. Dent did very well in this format and earned a spot to compete in the finals with the top 100 prospects from across the country.

She made her way to Calgary in September and later discovered from RBC that she would be awarded funding as one of the top 30 Olympic hopefuls. Dent explains the money will help with training costs toward equipment, travel to facilities, and events.

Her hard work has also paid off as Dent will be relocating to the University of Michigan following her 2020 graduation from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Kenora. This post-secondary opportunity is exactly what she was after as the school is ranked 2nd overall for academics and ranked in the top 3 for rowing as well.

Dent thanks her Team Manitoba coach and past Olympian Janine Stephens for encouraging her and helping to connect her with the school. Dent has received a full scholarship and is looking forward to studying business there.

While the water remains frozen over the next number of months, Dent will spend 1.5 hours a day (Monday through Saturday) on an indoor rowing machine putting in countless kilometers. She will also focus on weight training three times a week. These commitments will also have to be squeezed in around her current hockey schedule. Needless to say, she’s a busy young woman.

Despite her busy schedule, she is friendly, positive and a great sport ambassador. Abby is quick to encourage anyone to try rowing.

Personally, she loves the outdoors and points out that anytime you see the sunrise from the water it’s a good day.

Dent has helped bring a few new people to the Kenora Rowing Club and explains the role reversal from athlete to coach is great for reviewing her own basic skills.

“It never hurts to try something new and you never know you may love it,” she said.

We wish Abby all the best as her journey in sport continues.