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September 10, 2010

Jaclyn Halko (l) and Camosun Athletic Therapy student Trish Mara (r).

Camosun Athletic Therapy student Trish Mara (l) and Jaclyn Halko (r).

Second-year Camosun Athletic Therapy student Trish Mara, along with rowing partner Jaclyn Halko, from the University of Western Ontario, earned a bronze medal at the annual FISU World University Championship Rowing Regatta in Szeged, Hungary, August 13-15.

The pair took third in the lightweight women’s doubles event right behind Poland and Great Britain. Mara and Halko had been rowing together for only five weeks.

“Rowing in the Worlds in Hungary was amazing,” says Mara. “I learned so much about racing internationally—something you can’t get when you only compete here.”

Award helps pay for college

Mara, who started rowing at 14, had a little help this year with the “Lois M. Smith Commonwealth Scholarship for Athletes,” established through the Camosun College Foundation.

“Because I was not able to work this summer since we were training six hours a day, six days a week, here and in Ontario before we left for Hungary, I’m very grateful to receive this scholarship,” says Mara. It will help me pay for school this year.”

A life-long sport participant herself, Lois Smith’s award helps top athletes who study full- or part-time at Camosun.

“I’ve been an athlete, official, administrator and volunteer,” says Smith. “I judged gymnastics at the international level and was Director, Sport Administration for the 1994 Commonwealth Games. I know what’s it’s like to be a competitive athlete and wanted to do something to support them.”

Student-athletes need support

“I really believe we don’t do enough for our Canadian athletes,” she adds. “We’re very proud of them and for many years they have seemed to succeed in spite of our system. They have to train at such high levels while either trying to get an education or work, or all three. Travel expenses for out-of-town competitions are enormous too. We’re geographically challenged here in Canada compared to Europe.”

“It is a challenge to juggle school and athletics,” admits Mara. “But I have had very supportive instructors at the College and I’ve learned good time management skills. To be honest, you also have to set priorities and make sacrifices. When your day begins at 4:30am, six days a week, and you practice two or three times a day, you don’t have a lot of spare time to watch tv or party! But, it’s all worth it and I really appreciate the support Camosun has given me—without their support it would be very difficult to do what I am doing!”

A career in Athletic Therapy helps others achieve their goals

“I came to Camosun because I wanted a career that combined my interest in health and science,” explains Mara. “Camosun’s Athletic and Exercise Therapy degree program was exactly what I was looking for. Eventually I want to row for Canada on the senior lightweight team and work as an Athletic Therapist to help other athletes achieve their goals.”

“I’m pleased to be of some small assistance to student-athletes,” adds Smith. “And pleased to be still connected to the sport system and help the athletes I admire so much!”

The Lois M. Smith Commonwealth Scholarship for Athletes is presented once each year to a Camosun student who also holds a national card from Sport Canada or their national Sport Federation. Students who have competed nationally or who are successful provincially may also be considered.

Love sport? Make it your life!

Camosun College now offers five new academic diploma and bachelor's degree programs in sport and exercise education at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence at Interurban Campus. If you are interested in supporting local student-athletes please contact the Camosun College Foundation, 250-370-4233 or

Last updated: September 23, 2015 5:12 pm

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