Local high school students excel at flat-water kayaking
By MATT PHELPS
Bothell Reporter Regional Assistant Editor
October 18, 2012 · Updated 10:21 AM
Ben Karlinsey and Dean Patrick have never met. Karlinsey recently moved to Kenmore from Gig Harbor while Patrick has spent most of his life in Bothell. But the two teenagers’ passion for kayaking and raw talent gave Kenmore and Bothell a big presence during the 2012 USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint National Championships from Aug. 23-25 on Greenlake in Seattle.
“I definitely exceeded my expectations,” said Patrick. “The competition was pretty tough. They came from all over the country.”
Patrick, 16, had the 10th fastest time in the 500 meters at 2-minutes, 2-seconds and finished in fifth place in the 5k of the junior division. His accomplishment is made more impressive by the fact that he had only paddled a sprint kayak 40 times prior to the competition.
Karlinsey, 15, won gold in the 1,000 meter juvenile K-2 race and silver in the 1,000 meter juvenile K-4.
“I always want to improve and next year I hope to place first in the 500 meter K1 sprint,” said Karlinsey, who credits his success to his coach and teammates.
Their finishes in the National Championships gave them confidence to move on in a tough sport.
Karlinsey has improved a lot in a short time. He began kayaking just two years ago.
“I got involved through a friend of my sister,” said Karlinsey, who is heavily involved with Boy Scouts. “I had a couple of private lessons and really enjoyed the sport.”
Patrick began kayaking with the Boy Scouts when he was 11.
“I did a Ski-to-Sea race two years ago and was asked to do the kayaking portion,” said Patrick. “That race was a launching point for flat-water kayaking.”
Flat-water kayaking is difficult to get adapted to as balance is key.
“Balance was a big issue when I started,” Karlinsey said. “The first time I was in a boat my coach had us do a 10-second competition.”
The coach told the boys whoever could stay upright for 10 seconds would get $10. The coach never had to crack his wallet.
“It took a couple of months before I could do it,” said Karlinsey, whose father is the new Kenmore City Manager, Rob Karlinsey.
Patrick’s start was just as difficult.
“I trained every day to be stable in a kayak,” said Patrick, who now trains three times a week with races each weekend.
Patrick also hopes to take his skills to the next level with the opportunity to attend a high-performance sports training school in Trencin, Slovakia this January.
“It is an incredible opportunity,” Patrick said.
Patrick said he credits his success to his coach, Karol Osusky, who also lives in Kenmore.
“He is an incredible mentor and coach,” said Patrick, who also plays football and wrestles. “He is very patient and babied me along.”
The boys train in Seattle with the Seattle Canoe and Kayak Club at Green Lake but hope to bring the sport home and form a Kenmore team.
“It would be great to get some more local guys from Kenmore,” said Patrick.
“We have the slough and Lake Washington so we have an opportunity,” said Karlinsey, who still needs to complete driver’s education.
But first the two boys have to meet each other. Their families have planned to have dinner together soon.
Contact Bothell Reporter Regional Assistant Editor Matt Phelps at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-483-3732 (ext 5050).