For a refreshing change, the U.S.A. National Whitewater Canoe Team Trials were held in my home state of Wisconsin this season - and I was spared the drive cross-country to the event! Several of my friends, fellow competitors, stayed with me and my family in Stevens Point, and the event was made better by our shared friendship and support for one another.
I spent the week leading up to team trials diligently training for the competition, in addition to attending my AP classes in the morning - quite a juggling act, and it made for an energy draining week! It was wonderful having trials so close to home, but I found difficulties because being at home was far more distracting than being away and solely focused on the trials. Friday, April 30th was the first day of team trials. I knew the course exceptionally well, but I could tell I wasn't as rested as I should have been. To add to my energy dilemma, I chose to paddle not only womens' canoe, but also womens' kayak. Two classes in a team trial means 4 race runs per day, rather than 2...over the course of 3 days, that rate would have been exhausting. Because of this, I felt that my runs were solidly mediocre, although my friends and family insisted that I had performed well. I finished Friday's competition in 2nd for C1W - and feeling very dejected. Saturday I woke feeling determined and motivated. I wanted desperately to perform excellently, and my first canoe run was solid. I had two touches, but I was much faster, and made up the time. Because I felt so good, I elected to skip my first kayak run, and conserve energy for my second canoe run. This worked astonishingly well, and I laid down another solid run n(even faster!) and then took my second kayak run as an enjoyment/cool down run. I had needed those two solid runs to move me up to first boat - and it worked. I finished Day 2 30 seconds ahead of the next female competitor.
Sunday, the third and final day, came bright, hot, and preposterously windy. The course was painfully long. The course worked for me however, and I put down two speedy-fast canoe runs (once again electing to skip my first kayak run). After the second C-1 run, I hung in first place and for the first time ever, I claimed first boat on the U.S. Senior and Junior National Team in womens' canoe! I also made the Junior National Team in my kayak, for the first time.
Team Trials was an ordeal, a challenge, but also a growing experience. I felt incredibly fortunate to compete alongside such talented athletes as I was given the opportunity to. I can't wait to see where this journey shall take me!
See you on the river,