The Saskatoon Whitewater Kayak Club recently had the opportunity to travel to San Marcos,Texas with athletes from Alberta and the USA to take part in a warm-weather training camp. With National Junior Team Selections looming on the horizon and dreams of attending Junior World Championships this was a perfect opportunity to spend some much needed time on whitewater. In all, 12 athletes and 2 coaches made the 3400 km trek to take advantage of the Texas heat and warm water including SWKC athletes Kylie Zirk and Maksym Kryworuchko, and coach Brendan Curson.
Though the drive there and back was long, the river and weather in San Marcos was worth the trip. The San Marcos River is spring fed and therefore is a beautiful 74 degrees year round. Due to the warm temperature, the river is host to hundreds of protected plants and is the perfect sanctuary for turtles and fish of all kinds. The whitewater site is a man-made facility built off an existing weir in the middle of town. Not only is it the perfect spot to practice kayaking, on hot days it is also a local hangout and filled with people swimming in and above the rapids.
Over the 8 days spent paddling in San Marcos, the kids worked on learning and refining new whitewater and slalom racing skills. Most of this time was spent at the whitewater park focusing on technical skills though various dryland workouts were added throughout to week to help build a larger repertoire of exercises they can continue at home. Coaches Brendan Curson (SK) and Mike Holroyd (AB) also organized two race simulations for the kids with local paddlers to give the athletes an opportunity to measure themselves against eachother and other paddlers their age.
When not paddling, the team spent time lounging in the sun and shopping at a local outlet mall. Much time was also spent chasing turtles and taking video and pictures. Each day, a pair of athletes were also responsible for shopping, cooking all the meals, and keeping the house clean. Being a highly competitive group, the daily routine was also made into a competition where meals and cleanliness were judged every night and awarded accordingly. This competition provided some great entertainment and fabulous meals.
One of the highlights of the trip was spending an afternoon paddling downstream from the course to where the river feeds an irrigation canal and drops over a waterfall!! The team stretched the trip over a full afternoon stopping to play at a small ledge, chasing turtles, and finally spending hours doing laps of the waterfall. athletes and coaches alike had a blast running the falls forwards, backwards, and even without paddles!!
The trip proved to be a tremendous success. Every athlete came home knowing they had gained new skills and feeling much more confident about themselves leading into the final training stretch before National Junior Team Selections.
If you are interested in learning to kayak or joining our great competitive program please visit the SWKC website www.saskwhitewater.wordpress.com and check out our upcoming programs and events.