Gryphon Gallery: Caileigh Filmer
Stuart Brambley, School Archivist
Caileigh attended GNS from 2006–2009 for Grades 5 to 7, and during those years she had lots of fun and participated in many of the things the school offered.
Outside of school, she competed at a high level in swimming. She moved on to Mount Doug High School in Grade 8 and became very interested in a local rowing program, as her mother rowed at a National level.
She progressed rapidly and her first opportunity to compete internationally came in 2013 when she was a member of the Junior-Four crew at the Junior World Championships. A year later, she returned to the Junior Worlds and won a silver medal in the Coxless Pair. Just 10 days later, in her final year of high school, she won a bronze medal at the Summer Youth Olympics in the Coxless Pair in Nanjing, China.
She represented Canada in 2015 at the World U23 Championships, winning a silver in the Four, and then was selected in the World Cup I and World Cup II in the Women's Pair in 2016. Based on these results she was selected to represent Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the Women's Eight events. Her crew placed fifth in the Olympic final.
At the 2017 World U23 Championships, she stroked her crew to first in the Eight. In 2018 she was paired with Hillary Janssens and they won gold and silver at two World Cup events, then went on to win gold at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. They finished more than two seconds ahead of the runners-up from New Zealand.
In 2019, Caleigh took three months away from rowing to focus on her mental health and at times was unsure if she would return to the sport. But with support from family, friends, and teammates, she returned to compete at the World Championships. There, she and Janssens won bronze in the pair and were part of the Eight that finished fourth, qualifying both boats for the Tokyo Olympics. Caileigh and Hillary went on to win bronze in the Coxless Pair for Canada’s first Olympic medal in the event since Canadian icons Heddle and McBean in Barcelona, 1992.
During the build-up to this pandemic-delayed Olympics, Caileigh did cross-training on a road bike, enjoying it so much that it became the start of a new athletic goal. Within six weeks of her Tokyo success, she took the first serious steps towards her next dream, ranking 921st in the world in 2022, but as she follows her plan, it might not be too long before she shocks many of the 920 racers ahead of her.
We wish to acknowledge and respect the Lekwungen-Speaking Peoples on whose traditional territory we stand, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and Wsáneć Peoples whose historical relationships with the land, where we live, work, play and learn, continue to this day.