One word to describe this year…SUCCESSFUL!!!!! Another word to describe this year…BUSY!!!!!!!
The year started off as usual with competitive and family pool sessions throughout the winter. Thanks to one of our parents, Parker Zirk, the competitive group finally had a full gate setup in the swimming pool which made a huge difference in their training. Our family paddle nights were well attended and everyone had a blast learning and perfecting new skills. One of our youngest members, Emmett (3yrs), learned to wet exit and roll in the double with his dad while 10yr old Justin became a rolling machine!!!!!
Club member Ben Lapointe started competing at a higher level in Canoe Polo competing at various competitions with the UofS Canoe Polo Team as well as being invited to participate in National Team Development camps throughout the winter. Kylie Zirk and Maksym Kryworuchko also did additional training with the UofS Polo Team as crosstraining for the slalom season.
In May, Kylie Zirk, Maksym Kryworuchko, and Jakob Kryworuchko attended Slalom National Team Selections with their coach Brendan Curson and team mom Jen Kryworuchko. They hopped in a van in Saskatoon on Friday morning and arrived in Minden, ON Saturday afternoon!!! Midway through a week of training the rains came and water levels jumped increasing the flow rate from 23cms (regular race flow) to 35 cms (World Cup level) and finally peaking at 40cms which made it the highest water level a race had ever been held at in Minden. The site is very difficult at regular flow so at twice the regular flow the course became monstrous and fast. The race went off without a hitch, though for many of the younger paddlers it was more about survival than racing!! At the end of the weekend, Kylie Zirk had qualified for a spot on the National Junior Team in K1 junior women and Maksym Kryworuchko had to settle for a 5th place finish in the highly competitive K1 junior men.
Throughout June we watched with the rest of Canada at the horror that overcame Alberta. We were glued to our computer screens watching the flow rate guages explode one after the other as many of our favorite paddling spots were engulffed in flood.
By the time the July long weekend rolled around we were unsure if we would be able to hold our yearly family paddling weekend at our regular spot in central Alberta. With the weekend fast approching we watched as the floodwaters slowly receded and with great joy we headed out to catch the last remnents of high water playspots!! It was a great weekend with lots of surfing, scouting new river channels, and birthday celebrations!!!
In July, Kylie Zirk travelled to Liptovsky, Slovakia to compete in the ICF Junior/U23 World Slalom Championships as a member of the Canadian Team. Kylie spent three weeks in Europe training with the best junior age slalom athletes in the world and learned a tremendous amount. Kylie showed her true potential with one of the best runs of the weekend for Canada leaving her in 40th after first runs. Kylie finished off the race in 50th place out of 86 competitors and considering she was the youngest competitor in the competition she proved she is a force to be reckoned with in years to come.
Closer to home, the Kryworuchko family took off to Kananaskis for the month of July to prepare for the National Championships and 2014 Junior/U23 National Team selections. The course at Kananaskis was destroyed by the June floods and had to be completely rebuilt. Between sessions the Kryworuchko family worked with the Alberta athletes to completely rebuild the course in time for National Championships.
July also saw Ben Lapointe travel to Welland, ON to take part in the National Canoe Polo Championships.
At the end of July all our athletes travelled to Kananaskis for National Championships and Junior/U23 National Team Selections. The event was well run and well attended with athletes from France, Australia, USA, and Canada. This was also the first Nationals with participation from 7 different provinces/territories including BC, YK, AB, SK, MB, ON, and QC. OUr athletes competed extremely well with medal performances from Kylie Zirk in K1W Jr and C1W Jr as well as from Ben Lapointe in C2M Jr. Other notable performances came from Maksym Kryworuchko who earned himself a 4th in K1M Jr in an extremely competitive class. Justin Beckstrand and Jakob Kryworuchko also had extremely positive performances. By the end of the weekend Kylie Zirk had earned a spot on the National Junior Team in both K1W and C1W to compete at World Championships in April 2014 in Australia and Maksym Kryworuchko had earned a spot as the first alternate in K1M.
With the summer finally coming in August our athletes once again travelled back to Kananaskis for Alberta provincial championships. This is always a really fun event with activities and events for the whole family. with tremendous performances from all our athletes almost everyone hit the podium at least once!!
Once again, congrats to all our paddlers on a tremendous year and Many thanks to all the parents and families who make our dreams a reality!!!!