Humboldt's Jacob Wassermann has been named to Team Canada in PR1 men's singles rowing for the upcoming Paralympics in Paris, France.

Wassermann played for the SJHL's Humboldt Broncos and was on the team's bus when it crashed on April 6, 2018. Left paralyzed, he staged a remarkable spirit through his recovery, first taking up competitive wakeboarding and excelling at the sport.

When the opportunity was presented to him, he migrated to rowing where he took fire and began to show his remarkable potential. He will be making his Paralympic debut after only his first full international season competing in Para rowing.  

Wassermann’s performance at the international qualifying competition in Rio de Janeiro lifted the Canadian PR1 Rowing team to eligible status for the games. There was little doubt that Wassermann would be instrumental to any success Canadian rowing will have in Paris, but there’s always a measure of uncertainty until the official call is made. Jacob talks about hearing that news. 

“It was really good to have everything announced. The pressure of all the training is worth it. I’m really excited to move forward this summer and keep working hard until I leave for the games.” 

Indeed, Wassermann got the inside track on the announcement before it was made official but kept it under wraps until the unveiling of Team Canada in Victoria.  

Wassermann talked about his migration to rowing from adaptive water skiing where he had seen considerable success in competition. A mentor guided him into water skiing, but after a couple seasons, he says, “things just didn’t work out,” and he went on the lookout for a new sporting challenge. 

“It was a chance encounter with a friend who told me there was a ‘have a go’ day at the Saskatoon Rowing Club.”  

Wassermann took up the challenge, and the rest is in the books. Wassermann took to the sport, and his natural drive, athleticism and physique made him an ideal fit. 

“I’m tall and lanky and that’s kind of the perfect build for a rower. The extra reach I can get is very valuable, especially for PR1 which is my classification for rowing. I can’t use my legs to get the extra reach, so with how long my arms are how long my body is to be able to reach the blades farther back just gets me more power and movement through the water.” 

He’s been nurtured throughout the process by Saskatoon Rowing Club coach Andrew Knorr and provincial coach John Wetzstein. It’s now a matter of fine tuning the technical aspects of Jacob’s rowing to continue to maximize his performance.

It’s back to the South Saskatchewan and its sheltered spots in what’s been a windy Saskatchewan summer thus far. Wassermann departs August 24 for the Paralympics to get set up and acclimatized. His event starts on August 30 and goes through September 1 in the opening days of the games. He says it’s a “near and yet so far” feeling approaching his training leading up to the games. 

“It doesn’t feel real yet, and I don’t know if it will until I’m actually there, but it’s awesome. I’m really proud of the work I’ve put in and how far I’ve been able to come. I’m super excited and super proud for this opportunity to represent Canada, and of course Humboldt. I always carry the town with me no matter where I go.” 

This August and September, the city of Humboldt, along with the entire province, will carry thoughts of Wassermann’s trials and successes in their hearts as he competes once more on the world stage. 

Discover Humboldt's Maury Wurbleski talked with Jacob Wassermann following his assignment to Canada's Paralympic Team.