The Ottawa Rowing Club is home to so many amazing, motivated, selfless volunteers! We feel really lucky to know and have them in our community – we want you to know them too.

Here’s another edition of Project #ORCvolunteerlove, where we ask volunteers a series of questions. We’ll post new volunteer Q&As each week. Their answers may surprise you, make you giggle, or motivate you to live the best day ever, or to pay forward what you’ve received too.

Meet Ed Fournier, one of our many volunteers who make the ORC go and go fast and furiously each year.

Coach Ed has been a member and volunteer of the Ottawa Rowing Club since 1988 – that’s 30 years(!) of experience and giving back to a sport that he discovered as a student at McGill University. Today, Ed is Lead Coach of the ORC’s Senior Men’s competitive program and he’s also been Head Coach of the Carleton Ravens rowing team for six years. Ed was an accomplished rower himself and is an accomplished coach having guided many rowers to provincial, national and international success.

THANK YOU, ED.  Sending you so much #ORCvolunteerlove!

Q: What is your education in and what’s your day job?

A: I have a bachelor of mechanical engineering with an aeronautics option and during the day I work as a senior engineer in the field of impact biomechanics at Biokinetics and Associates.

Q: How long have you been a member and volunteering at the ORC?

A: I moved to Ottawa in 1988 and have been a member of the ORC ever since.  I have been volunteering at the club in some capacity since I joined the club.

Q: How did you first discover rowing?

A: I discovered rowing when I was in my third year of university at McGill when I met some rowers in the school weight room and thought that rowing would be fun to try.  I remember questioning my decision the first time I had to get up at 4:00 am for practice.  I am so glad I stuck with it.

Q: What do you wish other people knew about rowing and the ORC?

A: The Ottawa River is fantastic for training.  There are very few rowing clubs where you can do a 20 km row (or longer if you choose) without the need to stop every few kilometers to turn around.

Q: What might someone be surprised to know about you?

A: Most people don’t know that I also do karate and have a 3rd degree black belt.

Q: You have been a coach for many years and have worked with many athletes. What is the biggest challenge you encounter when coaching?  What do you most love about coaching and that keeps you engaged?

A: I started coaching when my son Matthew was starting out as a junior rower at the ORC and there was no one to coach the summer program so I volunteered.  Matthew has recently retired from competitive rowing but I continue to coach because I love helping others reach their potential. My biggest challenge is finding the time to do all the extra coaching duties that need to be done to ensure a successful season, while trying to find time for myself to exercise and maintain fitness.

Q: What is a piece of advice or final few words that you’d share with an athlete/crew as they launch for a big final?

A: This will vary with the crew but generally I remind them to have trust in their training and preparation,  to push the limits of what they think they are capable of and to leave nothing on the water.

Q: What do you most love about the ORC?  What do you love most about rowing?

A: I love the physical, technical and mental challenge that rowing offers.  Rowing is one of those sports when you see it on TV it looks so easy and effortless but anyone who has ever tried it knows how hard and tough the sport can be and the ORC is a fantastic place to share your passion for the sport with others.

Q: What characteristic or mindset do you think is most important for a person to excel in rowing and to be their best?

A: There are many characteristics required to become a great rower but the most important are determination, commitment to training and the ability to make technical changes suggested by a coach.

Q: What is a favourite quote that guides you day to day?

A: It is when things seem worst that you must not quit.  (This is the end of a much longer poem whose authorship is uncertain)

Q: List 3 things on your bucket list

A: 1- Visit Hawaii

2- Participate in the 50 km ski Loppet in Iceland

3- Travel to New Zealand