All four national champions with the trophy.

Update since Wausau… A lot has happenned!

EXPLORING OUR BEAUTIFUL CANADIAN RIVERS –

Well, a lot has happened since Wausau. When I came back home, I couldn’t resist exploring our beautiful Canadian rivers. International paddlers drove up north with us after Wausau Worlds to explore our new country, known for our many rivers. In just a couple of weeks we managed to run the Ottawa River, the Gatineau River, the Gull River, the Madawaska River and surf the waves at La Chine Rapids. They also managed to get to know Tim Horton’s pretty well and grew very attached to this fine Canadian cuisine haha. It was hard for them to part.

Showing Paja the Parlement building.

Showing Paja the Parlement building.

LONDON OLYMPICS –

After coming home from a crazy packed schedule of river running, I encouraged the slalom paddlers competing at the 2012 Olympic Games. It was amazing to watch and support all my friends and talented athletes. Nonetheless, it was hard to accept the fact that our sport of C1W could not yet be included.

2012 CANADIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS –

On the second week of August, all Canadian slalom paddlers headed out to Valleyfield Quebec for the 2012 Canadian National Championships. We all camped behind a school near the river. It’s the one time of year that all the younger and older athletes from all the provinces across Canada get to form stronger friendships. I was disappointed with my Under 23 result. The judges gave me a two second penalty which I was certain I did not have and was a water touch. Unfortunately that’s not the first time this happens, wrong calls happen all the time, even to the best athletes. I just needed to brush it off, accept my second place because of this call and refocus on my senior race. In the senior race, I went for the win and I was successful. I got my revenge on yesterday’s penalty and was able to pull off a decent race to become overall National Champion in C1W. I was stocked to have my name engraved on the trophy of national champions along the side of champions like five time Olympian David Ford. For fun I also did a team run with the Smedley brothers, Liam and Cameron, and together we won another gold for Ontario. We ended the weekend with a celebration in the rain at our camp ground jumping in mud and embracing the weather.

All four national champions with the trophy.

From the left, Ben Hayward K1M, Cameron Smedley C1M, Jazmyne Denhollander K1W & Alexandra McGee C1W.

WORLD CUP 4 & 5 in BRATISLAVA SVK & PRAGUE CZE –

Right after Canadian Nationals had finished, the Canadian national team headed to Prague CZE and then Bratislava SVK, to race at the two last World Cups. Prague is an amazing course; I loved training there the week before the race. Unfortunately, I had gotten sick before the race so that took a toll on my energy. I sucked it up and raced as well as I could however I did not manage to make it past the qualifications. I was very sad about this performance. It was the first time I hadn’t made semis so it was a big shock for me. I ended up in 23rd position, three spots shy of making top 20. I eventually got over it and refocused on my next race: The World Cup Final in Bratislava. The course had changed since last year; the water was bigger, pushier and harder at some places. It wasn’t the exact same course that I had raced World Championships on last year. One of the challenges I faced at this race was a minor shoulder injury I had just gotten the day before the race during practice. The qualifiers course design was one of THE most difficult courses I have ever paddled. This course was designed by Michal Martikan, an amazing canoeist, silver medalist at the recent London Games, and decorated with many other titles and medals. I was surprisingly impressed on how well I pulled off this difficult course. In qualifiers I was a comfortable 9th place. The next day, my goal was to keep that position in order to make top ten. A few big mistakes put me into 14th place and I missed the final. These last two World Cup races were difficult results for me to swallow but they’ve also helped me realize what training I need to focus on and what I need to do in order to place better results with consistency in the future.

Training session in Bratislava before the Final World Cup.

Training session in Bratislava before the Final World Cup.

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