Frans in action at the World Rowing event in Toronto last weekend

Local resident Frans Bouwmans has led an active lifestyle his whole life. Now, at age 60, he is not only still competing athletically, but also dominating in his current passion – competitive rowing. Frans was one of many competitors who attended the indoor World Rowing Championship in Toronto last weekend. The international event is held in a different country every year, and with this year’s event just a car drive away, Frans could not pass up the opportunity. 

It turns out that the drive was more than worth it. Frans competed hard and ended up being first in his age group – he is the world champion rower for the age 60-64 category. Frans’ wife, Geraldine, explained that he has had to work very hard to get to where he is with rowing. He has been training competitively in rowing for seven years now. “It’s quite a commitment that you have to make,” said Geraldine. She further explained that Frans has a competitive personality and is always inclined to “give it his all” when it comes to sports. He got a late start in life with rowing due to a previous back injury. 

Frans is very proud of his accomplishment. He explained that there were a total of 21 competitors in his age group from all over the world, with about half attending to compete in-person, while the rest competed from home in a “hybrid” post-pandemic model. Out of all 21 competitors, Frans amazingly had the fastest time, therefore taking home the championship. Despite only being involved with rowing for the last seven years, Frans has essentially been training for such a win his whole life. He competed in gymnastics as a child, and has always focused on keeping fit by visiting the gym for workouts. 

Frans was eager to take advantage of the fact that the in-person rowing event was not only in Canada this year, but in nearby Toronto specifically. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no in-person rowing events. Instead, World Rowing competitors had to compete using a rowing machine at home, which was connected to the internet to measure their performance during the competition. The last in-person event prior to the pandemic was in Paris, which Frans did not attend. He is not sure if he will be able to make it to next year’s event, in Prague. 

Congratulations, Frans! Keep on rowing!


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