Cassidy Deane wins silver at FISU

Gaels rower medals at world championships in Shanghai, China

Deane (left) after winning the silver medal
Supplied by Cassidy Deane

It was her first time racing over international waters, but fifth-year rower Cassidy Deane looked beyond her years representing Canada at the International University Sport Federation (FISU) World Championships this past August in Shanghai, China.

Deane—who won OUA gold in 2017-18 with the Gaels—competed in the Canadian women’s 8+ crew at the championships, helping her boat reach a narrow silver medal finish. 

The Canadians finished two seconds behind the first-place Great Britain team, and just under a second ahead of the bronze medalists, the United States. 

After placing third in the preliminary heats, Deane said pulling ahead late in the championships made for an exciting finish.

“We were sitting in third place the whole race, until the last 1500 [meters], when we passed the [U.S.] pretty close to the finish line,” Deane told The Journal. “It was exciting that everyone committed together.”

The greatest challenge for her boat, she added, came from adjusting to Shanghai’s blistering summer heat throughout the tournament. While at the championships, the average temperature in China’s biggest city hovered around 35 degrees.

Deane said the conditions were so difficult to train in the team cut back on their anticipated practice times, and even struggled in their first race.

“It was extremely hot, and we didn’t perform as well as we’d hoped to,” Deane said. “Part of it was the nerves, because a lot us were racing internationally for the first time and weren’t used to dealing with the heat.” 

Soon after, a typhoon hit Shanghai, on the morning of the finals. 

The drastic drop in temperature helped Deane’s Canadian boat dig deep, and in the last 500 meters of the race, move past the U.S. to clinch a silver medal. 

“It was definitely a clean commitment,” Deane said of her and her teammates’ late-race surge. “You can feel in a boat if someone isn’t committing, because it doesn’t run as well, and we were all moving together.”

“I don’t actually remember the last 300 [meters] of the race because all that I could think about was drive as hard as you can … [E]verything hurts and your muscles are screaming. You’re in pain, there’s the lactic acid. You want it  to end—but you know you can do it.”

Beyond her joy representing Canada and bringing home silver, the experience at FISU was meaningful for Deane because it highlighted the strides she’s made in her career.  

Originally from Whistler, B.C., Deane got her introduction to rowing in her second year at Queen’s. Starting off with the Gaels’ novice team, she made varsity after a spending a summer training with the Kingston Rowing Club. 

When Deane made a standout performance at the Ontario Speed Orders in June 2018, Rowing Canada came calling. One successful tryout later, and she was headed to FISU with the national team—only three years after first competing in a boat. 

As training camp ends and the OUA competitive season begins, Deane said she’s feeling optimistic about the Gaels going forward. Last season, the Gaels piled up six gold 

medals at the OUA Championships—Deane helped to earn for one of those after finishing first in the women’s pair with teammate Paige Adams.

“There have been a couple people who have risen to the occasion,” she said of the rowing program. “We have a bigger team this year and a higher calibre of athletes and they’re already great.”


All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.