The latest athletic exploit from Humboldt’s Jacob Wassermann has landed Canada a critical spot in the PR1 Men’s singles rowing competition in the 2024 Paris Paralympics. Wassermann is a relative newcomer to competitive rowing on a national level. Given that his on-water training options are limited in the icy climes of a Saskatoon winter, his silver medal finish at the Continental Qualification Regata in Rio de Janeiro is even more remarkable.  

The wheels for Jacob's appearance in Rio were set in motion last summer based on his amazing finishes in 2023 competitions. Rowing Canada eyed the Continental matchup for Pan-American countries’ Olympics qualifier as a chance for international competition on the water. 

“It was near the end of last summer when I was talking with the manager for the adaptive program at Rowing Canada,” explained Wassermann. “They were saying they wanted to send me down to Rio because they wanted to get me more experience racing because where I’ve been training, there aren’t a lot of other athletes to compete against.” 

Wassermann says the trek to Brazil, undertaken before the competition itself, was an amazing experience with a warm and embracing welcome from the locals. Also warm was the weather and the water which allowed Wassermann the chance to finally dip the oars and train in a more hospitable climate.  

“We’ve been indoors for the last six months leading up to that competition. So, we got out to Rio early, and there was a training camp for about three days leading up to the competition. I got some time on the water to knock some of the rust off and get back into the mindset because it is different when we’re indoors here for half the season.” 

Given the length of time he’d been off the water, Wassermann admitted to having a few nerves getting back into the element. Any concerns he quickly dissolved as muscle memory took over, assisted by excellent technical coaching he received before his race date.

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“The coaches I was working with were super good. They picked up on things really quickly and gave me adjustments. When I came out with the result I did, it felt really good. But it’s a skill set we have to have here in Canada to get back into form pretty quickly because we have a shorter season.” 

With some reallocation adjustments and Mexico’s win in multiple categories, Wassermann’s silver medal finish was enough to secure a spot in the PR1 men’s singles event at the Paris Paralympics. The hope is that Wassermann’s outstanding effort in securing that spot will make him a strong candidate to make his first Paralympic appearance.  

“The athlete going in that spot is not confirmed yet,” Wasserman states. “We are going to have a summer worth of training, and the athlete will be announced later in the summertime when the whole team is set.”  

The gold in the Rio event went to an athlete that Wassermann admits serves as a standard for him to meet and exceed. The veteran Mexican gold winner has been at the sport for many years, and Wassermann’s athletic gifts, his stoic determination and his relentless work ethic will no doubt serve him well in that pursuit 

“I’ll be fighting for that spot and training hard this summer to try my best to be in Paris.” 

The one-time Humboldt Broncos goaltender turned award-winning adaptive water skier, and now adaptive rowing phenom, has his sights firmly on gold of a different sort – Olympic Gold – at this summer’s Paris event.