Flatwater Yukon paddler Kate Mason celebrates a medal win at the Westerns Regatta in Calgary on July 22. Mason won six medals at the event. (Brianna Hartness/Flatwater Yukon)

Yukon kayakers see podium at Westerns Regatta

Flatwater Yukon paddlers win nine medals in Calgary

Flatwater Yukon members paddled to hardware over the weekend.

Yukon paddlers won a total of nine medals in kayaking at the Westerns Regatta in Calgary, July 22-23.

“It was fantastic,” said Yukon coach Fearghus Vincent. “We’re all so excited for how much flatwater is blooming here. We’ve got so many kids coming in and out of the club. We have 20 fresh faces every week and our regatta-ready program has eight to 12 people every week.

“Sending them off you’re not sure how they’re going to do because you have such a small sample size to test them against. Once we got there we could see that our program is really competitive with all the other clubs in western Canada right now.

“Our U13 girls program, I would say, is one of the best in western Canada.”

Vincent has the numbers to back up the claim.

Team member Kate Mason captured six medals in Calgary. The 12-year-old, who was at her first kayak regatta, won gold in the U13 women’s K1 500-metre, gold in the U13 women’s K1 200-metre, and bronze in the U13 women’s K1 4,000-metre.

Paddling in merged boats with members of other clubs, Mason also claimed gold in the U13 women’s K2 200-metre, gold in the U13 women’s K4 200-metre, and silver in the U13 women’s K2 500-metre.

“Kate had about four races back to back on the second day of the regatta. Instead of getting really worked up about it, she was like, ‘OK, let’s do this,’” said Vincent. “We’d have the boats … and she’d finish a race and we’d run up and grab her next boat and set it on the dock. She came in and went back out.

“The amount of positivity radiating from that girl was astounding.”

Yukon’s Joel Girouard and Bruce Porter teamed up with Outside paddlers to win gold in the U11 men’s K4 200-metre. In another merged boat they won silver in the U13 men’s K4 500-metre, and placed fifth in the U15 event.

Vincent won gold in the open men’s K4 200-metre in a merged boat.

Mason and Yukon coach Brianna Hartness almost brought the medal count to double digits with a fourth place finish in the open women’s K2 200-metre final.

Flatwater Yukon paddlers won a total of 17 medals at the 2017 Canada Day Regatta, at the start of the month in Regina, Sask.

Seven members will race for Team Yukon at the 2017 Canada Summer Games — in the second week of the Games — taking place in Winnipeg, July 28 to Aug. 13.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com