Discipline/Event: Canoe Sprint; K2 500m, K1 500m
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Club: Oklahoma City Canoe/Kayak
High School: Roosevelt High School
College/University: Oklahoma City University
Area of Study/Major: Business Administration
At what age did you start paddling and how did you become involved in the sport?
I started paddling at age 10 at the Seattle Canoe and Kayak Club. I heard about the sport from a schoolmate who had become involved with SCKC through an adventure camp the previous summer. When she told me that Seattle was hosting the National Championships that year, I decided to jump on the opportunity to join the team and I was able to race in the Nationals by the end of my first summer paddling.
Where and when was your first competition, and how did you do?
My first competition was at the Cascade Canoe and Kayak Regatta in Renton, Washington in spring of 2005. Although it was a small race, I earned my first individual ribbon, placing third in the Bantam K1 500m and edging out a more experienced girl on my team.
What has inspired you to train and compete at an International level?
When I first started paddling, I saw a group of juniors at my club travel to the Olympic Training Center during the summer to train and compete at the Junior World Championships, and knew that they were the athletes I wanted to grow to be. Since qualifying for International competitions myself, I’ve found a thrill in competing against paddlers of such high caliber, and dedicating my time to pursuing a sport I love.
What is your preference - individual or team boats, and why?
I prefer team boats to singles because I love the pressure and motivation that comes with having other people in the same boat as you. When I am training and racing in team boats I am able to push my limits further because I never want to let my teammates down.
What race distance do you prefer, and why?
I prefer racing 500m because it is the distance that I have the most confidence in racing.
What has been your biggest accomplishment(s) in the sport?
My biggest accomplishment in Canoe/Kayak was definitely going to the Junior Worlds Championships in 2011. Competing in Brandenburg as a last year Junior was an amazing experience, and something that I had been working towards since I began paddling.
What is the best advice you have been given and who offered it to you?
Some of the best advice I have been given came by from my junior coaches and one of my mentors still today, Aasim Saleh. He always reminds me that everyone faces obstacles in this sport, but those people who are able to survive being on the bottom that will ultimately rise to the top.
Tell us about your current training schedule? Describe an average day for you?
My current training schedule involves an average of 11 practices a week, with Sundays off. Three mornings a week I swim, and all other sessions involve a combination of weights, cardio, and training on the water.
What do you do for fun and relaxation?
Between training and studying, I love spending my down time organizing my apartment and watching movies with my roommates.
What would you like to do after your Canoe/Kayak career is over?
I am currently pursuing a degree in Business, but I have yet to decide what I want to do once I am done training. Throughout the year I teach development kayaking classes and camps, which have shown me that I want Canoe/Kayak to be part of my life forever. Whatever career I end up following, I am sure it will have some relation to the sport and community of Canoe/Kayak.
What is your favorite thing about the sport of Canoe/Kayak? Do you have any special memory that you would like to share?
One of the amazing things I have found through my involvement in Canoe/Kayak is the opportunity it has given me to meet new people. In 2010, I traveled to Florida with one of my teammates and closet friends for two weeks of training with the Calgary Canoe Club. We were welcomed into their team, as well invited to training sessions with the Junior Canadian National Team, resulting in friendships that I still maintain today.
What is your goal for the 2013 season?
I am aiming to qualify for the U23 Team to represent USA in Welland. If I am selected for the team, I hope to qualify for an A or B final in my events.
What is your dream goal?
Ultimately I am striving to compete in the Olympics one day. The Olympic Games are something I dreamed about before I became competitive in Canoe/Kayak, and this sport has given me the opportunity to hopefully see this goal through.