Jaclyn Stelmaszyk grew up in Uxbridge, and as a young girl participated in a number of different sporting activities such as swimming, dance, badminton, track and field, figure skating and hockey, but when called upon to try rowing on a high school team, by teacher Sue Palmer, the experience grew into a lifelong commitment.
Jaclyn explained, “I’m a competitive person by nature, but I just couldn’t ‘find myself’ in any of the other sports, and so I ended up quitting them, but something about rowing just clicked with me, and I realized that this was the sport for me. I love being outside and being with the elements. I love being on the water, and feeling the wind. Even when it rains, while I’m rowing, I find it’s calming for me. Rowing just stuck.”
After graduating from high school, Jaclyn decided to study Nutrition at the University level, but also sought out a University that had a competitive rowing program, to further enhance and develop her skills, in this area that appeared to be quickly accelerating.
Jaclyn continued, “I chose Western University because they have a great team, and a great reputation. I began testing on their rowing machine, and I had significantly improved, and I had tangible feedback on how well I was doing, so I wanted to keep going to see what I could do. It was a great environment, and it was a great team to be on. The coaches were excellent, and taught you, not only to be a good athlete, physically, but mentally as well. They taught you how to be a good teammate, and by training and rowing for years with the other girls, who became very close friends, it taught me how to be disciplined and remain hardworking.”
During her University years, Jaclyn and her teammates won a number of awards in the lightweight category. There were 3 Canadian University Champ-ionships, 2 Ontario Championships, a Gold Medal achieved for the Canadian National Championships, and a Bronze Medal win, for the World University Games held in Szeged, Hungary, all between the years 2007-2010.
Jaclyn was then invited to join the Canadian National Team, but eager to compete at an International level, Jaclyn, a dual citizen of Canada and Poland, joined the Polish National Team and trained intensely for two years, winning Gold in the Non Olympic World Championships, in 2012. Jaclyn said, “the training and sport is so physically demanding, and people often say that I’m crazy to row. In competition, it’s like doing a seven minute sprint, and it’s hard on the body, but this quote by Kim Brennan, Australian Gold Medalist, rings true to me. She says… ‘Rowing is a sport that requires power and grace, physiology and mental strength, calmness and intensity. You need to be both a scientist and an artist. It is a sport that requires an elusive balance of opposites,’ that is the beauty of rowing.”
After, the years in Poland, and missing her family, Jaclyn came back to Canada, and was invited to join the Canadian National Team for the second time, and in competition was awarded Gold for Canada in the single, lightweight division, in the World Cup 1, held in Australia, in 2013.
All these achievements have made Jaclyn a world-class champion, but financial constraints limited her ability to keep training and competing on a full time basis.
Jaclyn came home to Uxbridge to rest, and completed her degree in Nutrition, and became a Registered Dietitian in 2016, and currently works in a Long Term Care Facility.
She married her boyfriend, Jonathan, in 2014, and in 2017, Jaclyn and her husband became the proud parents of daughter, Aleksandra. But rowing still calls to Jaclyn, and after a third call to the Canadian National Team, she continues to train, and recently won a Silver Medal, at the Canadian National Championships in the lightweight, singles division, in Burnaby, British Columbia.
As Jaclyn reflects on her athletic career, and works towards her dream of helping qualify Canada to compete in the Olympics in 2020, she said, “My training, now has turned into something greater than I could have imagined. I have a job, and a child, and I realize now that I’m doing this for my daughter. She is the reason I have success, and my husband is very, very supportive. I love this sport, and I want to do my best.”
For more information on how to sponsor Jaclyn please contact her, at wwwrowingrd.com, or at her Instagram account, at @rowingrd.