One West paddlers gear up for Team Canada tryouts

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This past September, local dragon boat team One West earned the title of World Champions in 200m Premier Mixed standard boat and Women’s small boat; medaling a total of four times at the 9th Biennial IDBF Club Crews World Championships (CCWC) in Ravenna, Italy. With teams competing by clubs, One West has been preparing for Italy for over two years, training anywhere from 5 to 7 times a week in the gym and on the water.

“Having success in Italy was a great achievement for our club,” said Ryan Kearns. “It proves that with hard work, dedication and the right group of people, you really can accomplish great feats. [One West] came from very lowly beginnings to the very top of the world in less than six years. A rare and beautiful thing that I will never take for granted.”

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Following their success at CCWC, several One West members will be looking to compete in the 12th World Nations Championships in order to satisfy the “crave for that next adrenaline rush of racing with the world’s best,” as Antony Chandra describes it. Unlike CCWC, paddlers will be racing under their country name and have to compete individually for a spot on Team Canada. For Jen Chan, “making the Canadian premier national team would be an absolute honour, as it is one of the most competitive years for tryouts that our coaches have ever seen.  It is the ultimate test as a paddler in this sport.”

Although Canadian Teams are one of the most represented countries at IDBF events, this will be the first time that the World Nations Championships will be hosted in Canada, and many athletes will be looking to represent on home turf.

“Being on the national team has always been a very personal thing for me,” Kearns exclaims, as “being able to represent my country and make my family proud means everything to me and I take it very seriously. Having been on [team Canada] twice now and knowing how hard it is to win the Nations Cup, to have an opportunity to win for Canada in Canada is the highest honor I can think of in sports.”

With the Eastern Camp kicking off this long weekend, and the Western Camp following the weekend after, you can still find these young Canadian hopefuls encouraging and supporting each other; looking to make Canada proud with their hard work and determination.

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