Eight Canadian boats will race for a spot on the podium at the World Rowing Cup in Varese, Italy from April 15 to 17.

With the Olympic Games quickly approaching, 28 rowers are set to compete in eight events at the first World Cup of the season. With six boats qualified for Rio 2016, Canada’s team is looking to build on its successes from last season, which included eight gold medals at TO 2015 and a world championship bronze for the women’s eight.

Rio 2016 qualification tracker

The men's coxless four crew celebrate their gold medal. From left to right: Conlin McCabe, Kai Langerfeld, Tim Schrijver and Will Crothers. (Photo: Jason Ransom)

The men’s coxless four crew celebrate their TO 2015 gold medal. The squad finished fourth at the 2015 World Championship and will look to make their way back on to the podium on the World Cup circuit. (Photo: Jason Ransom)

For the women’s eight crew, this will be their first time back on the start line since that bronze medal-winning race at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in September.

“There’s tough competition ahead for us against all crews but we are excited to race,” Ashley Brzozowicz said in a Rowing Canada release. “We learned a lot last season in each of our races and we’re looking to continue improving through the spring. Especially in an Olympic season, it’s really important for us to start strong and keep the momentum going to the Games.”

View full world cup roster here

Carling Zeeman celebrates at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games.

Carling Zeeman, the Toronto 2015 women’s single scull gold medallist, will also seek a spot on the World Cup podium, after placing sixth in the world championships.

Before Canada hits the water this weekend, get to know the women’s eight crew on and off the water, through a World Cup countdown drawn by third seat Natalie Mastracci on Instagram.

 

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