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Kaitlyn McElroy


Event/Discipline: Canoe Sprint; K1 and K2
Birthdate: 3/19/1985
Birthplace: Bethel, Maine
Current Residence: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Height: 5'7"
College: Bates College '08
Club: Oklahoma City High Performance Canoe/Kayak Team

2015 U.S. Senior National Team and Pan American Games Member

Career Highlights:

  • 2013 World Cup No. 2: SILVER in K2 1000m, 13th in K2 500m with Maggie Hogan
  • 2013 World Cup No. 1: BRONZE in K2 1000m, 11th in K2 500m
  • 2012 World Cup No. 2 in Duisburg, Germany: SILVER in K2 1000m, 12th in K2 500m
  • 2012 World Cup No. 1 in Poznan, Poland: BRONZE in K2 1000m, 12th in K2 500m

Recent Results: 

  • 2015 World Cup No. 2: 4th in K2 500m B-final (13th overall) with Maggie Hogan
  • 2015 World Cup No. 1: 7th in K2 500m B-final (16th overall) with Maggie Hogan
  • 2014 World Championships: 16th in K2 500m with Maggie Hogan
  • 2013 World Championships: 14th in K2 500m, 15th in K2 200m
  • 2013 U.S. National Championships: 1st in K1 200m, 2nd in K1 5000m, 1st in K2 500m
  • 2013 Lake Placid International: 1st in K1 500m, 1st in K2 200m, 1st in K2 500m
  • 2013 U.S. National Team Trials in Oklahoma City, Okla.: 1st in K1 200m, 1st in K1 500m, 1st in K2 500m
  • 2012 U.S. National Championships in Seattle, Wash.: 1st K2 200m, K2 500m, K2 1000m, 2nd in K1 200m, K1 500m, K1 5000m
  • 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Oklahoma City: 1st in K2 500m, 2nd in K1 200m, 3rd in K1 500m
  • 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico: BRONZE in K2 500m
  • 2011 World Championships in Szeged, Hungary: 9th in K2 1000m A Final, 8th in K4 500m heats
  • 2011 World Cup No. 3 in Duisburg, Germany: 8th in K-2 1000m Final, reached semis in K-2 500m and K-2 200m
  • 2011 World Cup No. 2 in Racice, Czech Republic: BRONZE in K-2 1000m A Final, 8th in K-2 200m B Final, 9th in K-2 500m B Final
  • 2011 US Sprint Team Trials: 2nd in K2 500m, 3rd in K1 200m, 6th in K-1 500m
  • 2X 2011 National Champion: K-2 1000m (with Jen Burke); K-4 500m

Other Highlights:

  • 2010 Lake Placid International Regatta - 3rd in K1 500m
  • 2010 U.S. National Championships - 4th in K1 500m
  • Pan American Championships - 4th in K2 1000m
  • 2009 Sprint World Championship Team Member
  • 2008-2010 Marathon World Championship Team Member
  • Nickname: "Captain"
  • Job: OKC Boathouse District Staff
  • Hobbies: Reading, finding cool coffee shops, boxing and snowboarding
  • Quote: "Innate talent is nothing, success in 99% hard work." - Susan Polgar
  • Twitter: @Kaitie_Mcelroy
  • Blog:
  • How'd you get started? I grew up cross country skiing, competing through high school and college. When I was 15 I started marathon canoeing for cross training. It was a lot of fun, over the years I progressed from local 5-10mile races in New England to completing the triple crown of marathon canoe racing in 2007 which involves distances from 70mi - 130miles. In 2008 I switched my focus to Kayaking when a training accident prevented me from skiing at an elite level.
  • Who’s your hero or mentor and why? Joan Benoit Samuelson, won the gold medal in the ’84 olympics in the first ever women’s Marathon! When I was little, I thought I was going to be a runner. Joan Benoit would show up at some of the local races I participated in and run alongside different people for most of the race giving advice and encouraging words. She would then sprint ahead winning the event! I admire her dedication to sport, to running and to the community at large.
  • Triva:  I love neuroscience and neuropsychopharmcology, eventually I would like to pursue a Ph.d in this subject.

Balance. Strength. Technique. The challenge of Canoe/Kayak is pushing your mind and body to the limit everyday for years at a time, for the chance to paddle for the United States at the Olympic Games.

I started marathon canoeing when I was 15yrs old over the years I have progressed from local 5-10mile races in New England to completing the triple crown of marathon canoe racing in 2007 which involves distances from 70mi - 130mi and competing against international competition. In 2008 I switched my focus to Kayaking. Since this time I have competed on 6 US National teams in 3 different water sport disciplines (marathon kayaking, dragon boating and sprint canoe/kayak) and won 9 US National Championship titles in Sprint and Marathon kayak/canoe culminating in a 13th place finish at the 2010 Marathon Canoe World Championships in Baynoles, Spain and a 4th Place at the Pan American Sprint Canoe/Kayak Championships in Mexico City, Mexico.

In November of 2009 I moved from my hometown of Bethel, Maine to train in Oklahoma City at the National High Performance Center under the direction of Great Britain Olympic Coach, Shaun Caven. I believe this program will allow me to progress as an athlete and meet my aspirations as a fierce competitor.

Six days a week, I work out at the boathouse two to four times daily either on the water, in the weight room, or on the running trails. Between sessions, I coach kids on the basics of canoe/kayaking and lead kayak and dragon boat trips at Lake Overholser and the Chesapeake boathouse. When I have spare time I write articles for canoe/kayak publications and try to generate knowledge.

I came to sprint kayaking after a successful collegiate athletic career as a cross country ski racer at Bates College. I competed at the Junior World Championships, NCAA Championships and the Junior Olympics while concurrently pursuing a B.S. in biology, with focuses in psychology and bio-mathematics. Juggling school and competing at an elite level at the same time is a challenging task. However, I truly believe it brings balance to your life to maintain physical and mental goals; and success in one compliments success in the other.

Class rooms can only teach you so much. Competing around the world against people from all walks of life, while pushing your mind and body is an experience that has taught me more invaluable lessons about myself and the world that I could have ever imagined. The time I have spent on rivers, lakes, canals and ocean has allowed me to see parts of the world others miss out on- even if its just around the corner. As a paddler, I have had the opportunity to go to parts of the world and the country I never dreamed.

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