Six Kenmore students, and members of the Cascade Canoe and Kayak Team, competed in the US Team Trials in Oklahoma City on April 24 and 25.
“It’s really exciting to have such a diverse group of athletes – able-bodied and para, who work so well together,” said Kenmore-Cascade team head coach Dan Henderson. “Seeing young people grow and develop into powerful and confident people over several years and knowing that I had a part in that process.”
Junior Kayaker Ben Karlinsey competed for a spot on the Junior World Championships in Portugal in July. If selected, pool athletes will participate in a camp to determine if they will be placed in single, double, or four-person kayak teams.
Paracanoeists Hannah Pennington, Spike Kane and Alana Nichols competed for Team USA positions in the upcoming World Cup in Duisburg, Germany. The World Cup is the first qualifier for the 2016 Paralympic Games, set to be held in Rio de Janeiro. After Duisburg, athletes will be classified by male or female and the extent of their ability to appendages.
Senior athlete Dough Ritchie and Emmanuel Bouchard competed for selection to the US Senior Team for the level of Senior World Championships, and hopefully the Olympic Games, for Canoe/Kayak. The first qualifier for the 2016 Olympics, the Senior World Championships, will be held in Milan, Italy in August.
“One of the roles of a coach is to find ways to help athletes improve and become more competitive and the challenge of a diverse group is much greater than one that is more homogeneous – and it’s a challenge I really enjoy” Henderson said. “I get to wake up each morning with thoughts of helping athletes pursue their goals.”
According to Henderson, the athletes have spent hundreds of hours on the water since September, paddling in the cold rain and on warm, sunny days, for the opportunity. The students train twice a day on the water, plus strength training and cardio off the water.
“To compete as an Olympian or Paralympian, one must train like an Olympian or Paralympian,” Henderson said.
And for those on the team, with training in hand, they compete like an Olympian or Paralympian. According to Karlinsey, a junior hoping to qualify for the Junior World Championships, the athletes train seven times a week, with supplemental training off the water. He’s had five coaches contribute to his training and athletic character, along with support from family and friends.
“When I compete, I hope to perform on a level that demonstrates the support I have received from my team, family, and community. I view success as a product of both personal effort and community support,” Karlinsey said. “I have learned that an end goal that may seem daunting from the beginning can be achieved through daily effort and evaluation. I have also learned that the amount of effort put towards a goal can have little impact unless implemented correctly.”
While six members of the team competed in the US Team trials, there are more opportunities for students still in Kenmore. Children as young as 10 years old are able to begin training with basic instructions on boating safety to achieve their US Olympic Team goals.
The Kenmore-Cascade staff has coached three members of the US Olympic Team, and the team practices out of the Kenmore Waterfront Activities Center at Squire’s Landing Park.
The Bothell/Kenmore Reporter requested the final results, but those were not available prior to deadline.
Alana Nichols and Hannah Pannington placed first and second in the 200M women’s paracanoe. Ben Karlinsey placed fourth in the 1000-meter men’s single kayak, while Emmanuel Beauchard placed fourth. In the two-person kayak, Beauchard and Kaleikoa Kaleaoloha placed fourth.
For more information, please visit www.KenmoreWAC.org.