Brenda Bowskill - CST


First Name :Brenda

Last Name :Bowskill - CST

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Home Town :RCYC, Toronto,

Home Province :Ontario

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Bio :
Class: Laser Radial
Description: The Laser Radial is a singlehanded dinghy, meaning it is sailed by one person. A dinghy is a small sailing boat that has a centreboard.  The Laser Radial differs from the Laser Standard by the size of its sail - which is smaller than that of the Laser Standard.

Brenda was born in Toronto, Canada. She began sailing at the age of 6 at the Queen City Yacht Club on the Toronto Islands. Brenda lived aboard her parents boat during the summers and this was where her sailing passion began. Brenda took all of her junior club sailing levels from Opti, White Sail, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Brenda completed her levels at several yacht clubs including Whitby Yacht Club, Frenchmans Bay Yacht Club, and now is currently a member of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. Brenda represented Canada at the Youth World Championships held in Istanbul, Turkey in 2010. This was Brenda’s first World Championships, and the big event that sparked Brenda’s dreams of eventually representing Canada at the Olympic Games. She continued on her sailing path to qualify for the Canadian National Sailing team at the age of 18. Brenda has moved up the ranks on the National Team from development level to currently the senior level.
Brenda is studying nursing at the Ryerson University located in Toronto, Canada. She has made her two life goals of graduating University and going to the Olympics very achievable as her home, school, and training location are all within 20 minutes of each other. Brenda will continue being competitive within the international fleet and will push hard leading up to the 2016 Olympic Trials.
Recent Results:
2015 Laser Midwinters - 1st
2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami - 15th
2014 ISAF Sailing World cup- 30th
2014 European Laser Championships- 13th
2014 Garda Trentino Olympic Week Regatta - 10th
2014 Lauderdale Olympic Class Ocean Regatta - 1st
2014 Miami World Cup - 27th
2013 Laser Radial World Championships - 27th
Questions and Answers:
1. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
Qualifying for Pan Ams is obviously a great accomplishment. Being able to experience a games-like competition isn’t something all athletes get to do, so I am very pleased that I have such a great opportunity ahead of me. I also believe that seeing the little accomplishments goes a long way and keeps the fire alive. It is easy to lose sight being an athlete because we are so focused on being great at something, but accepting little achievements and little gains is what keeps me motivated and determined.

2. Do you have any routines and/or superstitions that are considered before you race?
I really love hanging out with my training partners, there is nothing better than having a few good laughs between us before hitting the water for training or racing. It is not so much a superstition but something I enjoy doing. It helps set the mood for the rest of the day.

3. What do you believe is the key to success?
I believe the key to success is having a good relationship with everyone on your team, including your training partners, coach, trainer, physch, family etc. Although sailing is an individual sport, it is impossible to be successful without a team who is supporting and guiding you towards your goal. I have an unbelievably awesome relationship with everyone on my team, something that I believe goes well beyond just sport. We all care about each other and that is what makes not only myself successful, but everyone successful! Also, good communication is key.

4. What would be your ultimate achievement in life, and/or in sport?
I have so many things I want to do with my life.  My two biggest goals are, to put it simply, I want to win a gold medal in sailing. I also want to finish my education as a nurse practitioner and to eventually have my own practice. Other things I would like to do along the way are to mentor youth athletes in sailing and other sports and also promote female athletes in sport.

5. If you could sail with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
If I could speak with anyone, I would wish to speak with my grandma. We are very similar people; focused, determined, hard working, stubborn to name a few. She was always a huge part of my life ever since I was born. She passed away several years ago, before I started to become competitive on the international circuit. I wish I could go sailing with her and ask her how she thinks I am doing and what I need to do better. She always said things how they were so I always knew I was getting an honest answer. I am sure she would have some very valuable things to say. We would also share some good laughs about the trials and tribulations of life.

6. You have mentioned that you used to live aboard your parents' boat during summers. Tell us about this experience.
Living aboard my parents’ boat in the summer was such a great and unique experience. Sailing was clearly a big part of my life growing up, so sailing everyday for the entire summer seemed so natural. I particularly loved sailing school because my big sister was there with me. I used to cry when I wasn’t put in the same boat as her; which wasn’t very often because.. I would cry lol! My sister was my role model growing up, everything she did I wanted to do as well. My sister, being older than me, was always a bit further ahead than I was in the learn-to-sail levels, so obviously if she got her bronze, I wanted to get my bronze. And when she went onto the race team, I knew that I just HAD to be on the race team as well. We spent one year on the same race team and it was then that I knew that I loved racing.   That, and one summer my mom wanted me to try some other things so she signed me up for 2 weeks of canoe camp. To me, it was so boring and awful that I made her promise to not take me out of sailing school ever again. Maybe that was her plan all along.

7. Do you have any special talents that most people don’t know about?
Most people already know this, but I am studying to become a nurse, something that I have always wanted to do since I was young. Being able to experience what it actually means to be a nurse has only grown my passion even more. Although nursing school is a tremendous amount of work, it has provided balance to my life and proud to say that I will soon be a nurse. I hope to continue my education, as mentioned before, to become a nurse practitioner and have my own practice eventually. My passion currently lies in paediatric and maternal health, so I envision a career within that field. However, I may also seek opportunities as an NP within athletics. I guess time will tell.

8. What does the average day in the life of Brenda include?
Balancing school and training keeps me very busy. Training doesn’t only mean on-water time and gym time, but also all the logistics and fundraising that come with it. That being said, I am almost always doing something. I’m not sure this is an actual saying, although it should be “the busy tend to stay busy”, meaning that the busier you are the more you take on really applies to me.  

The days when I am in school are very different than the days I am training. A typical training day starts by reading the forecast emailed to me at the crack of dawn by my coach, followed by checking other emails and social media. Then my favourite breakfast is strawberries with greek yogurt and granola, and obviously a cup of vanilla flavoured coffee. Then my training partners and I pack a very large lunch and we share a lunch bag that follows us wherever we go until we return home. We then go down to the boat park, have our morning brief, rig up, go sailing, come back, and debrief while eating lunch. Then we go home, make another snack, and rest for about an hour before heading for our second session of the day in the gym. Depending on what my trainer has assigned to me for the day, I will do a strength session or cardio session. Cardio is either in the gym or outside, depending on the weather. After that we cook dinner as a team, normally taking turns cooking throughout the week. Whoever cooks doesn’t have to do dishes though, that is the rule. Then we normally sit and chat together, have lots of laughs. There is never a dull moment in our group. On occasion we will go see a movie or mini-putt if they somehow convince me because I don’t really like mini-putt. And then we are normally in bed around 10pm to rest up before doing it all over again the next day.

Our group really works as a team. Although we eventually become competitors, we have developed a really strong bond between all of us. We do favours for each other to make life easier when we can, for example picking and dropping each other off at the airport, living together, moving boats together, going grocery shopping when someone is at the gym, etc. Having such a great team dynamic keeps my job fun, which, at the end of the day, is the most important. How can you be successful if you are not enjoying yourself?? I am most thankful for everyone on my team!