Athlete Spotlight: Carly Zanatta and Kaitlyn Dennis (Rowing)


Kaitlyn Dennis and Carly Zanatta (L-R)

Carly Zanatta has been one of the best collegiate rowers in the country the past few seasons and her 2018 fall performances helped cement her legendary Gryphon status. The fifth-year Food Science major from Fort Erie, ON, who transferred to the U of G from the University of Massachusetts, put in dominant performances throughout the OUA campaign, many coming alongside fellow fifth-year athlete Kaitlyn Dennis, a team captain for the past two years. A Nutritional Sciences major from Kenora, ON, Dennis has showed tremendous leadership in her time as a Gryphon, setting the perfect example for both male and female teammates. She also produced in the final races of her university career.


Zanatta recovered from broken ribs last spring and saved some of her best work for banner season, beginning with the OUA Championships where she took the gold medal in the lightweight women’s single event. The former conference Rower of the Year was behind in that race but put in everything she could to track down Greta Chase of Queen’s and take top spot.


The familiar pair of Dennis and Zanatta earned silver in the lightweight women’s double race at the provincial event. At nationals, the pair excelled again. Zanatta, who factored into all three of Guelph’s medals on the day, and Dennis took gold in the lightweight double. The lightweight four of Zanatta, Dennis, Emma De Wit, Claire Benwood and coxie Genevieve Desormeaux won a bronze in their event, and Zanatta also earned a silver medal in the lightweight single. It was a special day for the pair of veteran teammates, who capped their collegiate careers in style.


“Both Carly and Kaitie have tremendous work ethics and training regimens,” said U of G head coach Dave Léger. “Kaitie has been our team captain each of the past two years and has worked incredibly hard over her four years rowing with us. Carly showed some great heart today, rowing in three different events. While both of the girls were happy about the gold, they were even more focused on what it meant in terms of securing points for the overall team standings. It was a great way to end the varsity careers for a pair of humble, hard-working athletes.”