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It is now November 6th and the 2013 season has come and gone in a flash, with that I can say I’ve officially completed my second year as Head Coach at PRCC, a club I have been a part of for a decade now. Throughout the years I’ve seen the club fluctuate through its slow times where I’d be the only one paddling as Ryan sat in his truck in the dark shining his headlights at me at 6:15am, to summers where we developed world class Dragonboat teams and had volunteers that could form a small army. Much has changed throughout the years, now it’s me in a new F-150 watching Caleb paddle around… I am truly proud of what the club has done in the past two years, through work with the board members as well as volunteers we have created consistency through our programming and set ourselves up for continued growth for years to come.
The summer started off with a frenzy of new members at our earlybird registration, with registration forms getting a makeover in the off-season we were ready for paddlers with a clear idea of how we wanted the summer to go! Flatwater paddlers hit the water early with the young bantams and dragon boaters shortly following suit. The spring was GREAT, mainly because you could take your paddle out without 2 pounds of vegetation caught to it! May flew by and the onslaught that is June was quickly upon us. First off was our traditional Junior Dragonboat Challenge where our volunteers took center stage running a smooth and exciting regatta. Next, created through the vision of the two wise men Scott Madill and Hugh Wilson the club ran the 1st Annual PRCC Paddlesport Challenge!! This event allowed the club to demonstrate its many paddling disciplines by running multiple events on both sides of the spit. With Hugh on the skyjack directing traffic it lead to a ROCK SHOW of an event that looks to have great potential for years to come! Lastly, was the TIDBF on Center Island where three PRCC high school teams came top 3 (Mowat Mustangs, Dunbarton Spartans, Ridge Racing).
Once everyone had time to get their heads screwed on straight again our DB program was already off to Hamilton, despite the issues with numbers the core group was still able to pull off a great performance lead by Jordan and Katie! Mid-July we were saying our goodbyes to a lot of paddlers, cause they were off to the IDBF WORLD DRAGON BOAT CHAMPIONSHIP in Szeged, Hungary! (approx. 50 athletes). Both teams that trained at our club ended up doing great oversees with more medals then I have time to explain in this report. Once these paddlers had left it was time for our young flatwater stars to take aim at Divisional Qualifiers in Welland. We had some spectacular performances from our young paddlers and great race experience for our development athletes!
August was the month of the weeds as they slowly took over our paddlegrounds. All programs pushed on proving resilient to the dreaded Eurasian milfoil. Next up we had our year end regatta for both Bantams and our Development paddlers. Bantams headed to Ottawa to compete against the province, great races by Dusan, Andrew, Erin, Maddie brought home some hardware!! Caleb, Richard, Sarah, Brian and myself travelled to Montreal to compete in Nationals along with our Masters Meaghan, Charlotte, Kyra, Sean, Jason and Klem. The club had a good run at nationals despite the small group going; Caleb had a strong top 5 performance in C2 and just broke the top ten for his age group for singles. Richard and Sarah brought home some medals and let’s just say since me and Brian’s K2 race we are now longer on speaking terms… Our Masters dominated the Novice K1 races with 1st, 2nd, and 4th place finishes and Sean winning the unofficial award of most back to back races EVER!!
At this point in the summer my mind is usually barely capable of operating a motorboat but upon my return from Montreal I was greeted by a group of paddlers roaring to keep their training going into the Fall. Our Dragonboat program was going strong and gearing up for Stratford, while and a number of our outrigger paddlers had just returned from dominating in Kent Island OC6 race in the US. PRCC had the largest amount of fall paddlers in over 5 years with over 20 athletes training on a regular basis, regardless of the temperature outside or how early practice was they persevered and got in some valuable training. The club capped off the end of the season with a number of our paddlers competing in the Great Muskoka Paddling Experience featuring 10 and 18km races, again the club paddlers were successful in bringing home several medals including Nancy Holt for fastest female paddler!!! Overall a great season full of achievements as well as good times on the water!!
I am excited to announce that I have been hired on another year as Head Coach of Pickering Rouge Canoe Club. I will continue to use my skills to not only develop better paddlers, but help develop better people. My goal is to use the club to positively impact people’s lives the way it has impacted my own!
Special Thanks to: All our Board Members, Volunteers, Scott Madill, Hugh Wilson, Nancy Holt and our dedicated athletes who help put our club on the map!!!