Yukon’s flatwater paddling team used to be a branch of the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club, but starting this season the club is a separate entity.
Under the new name Flatwater Yukon, the club logged considerable success at the 2017 Canada Day Regatta, July 1-2 in Regina, Sask.
“It was a fantastic weekend,” said head coach Daniel Girouard. “The kids were nervous, didn’t know what to expect, they thought they would finish last in their races, and they were pleasantly surprised to finish and have medals and do well. Not everybody got medals, but most of the kids did.”
The team of 11 paddlers — the largest flatwater team ever to travel outside the territory to a regatta — won a total of 17 medals.
Leading the way was Julianne Girouard with seven medals. The 13-year-old paddled to gold in the U13 women’s K1 200-metre and the U15 women’s K1 500-metre. She also claimed gold in the U13 women’s K1 2,000-metre, by a wide margin of 50 seconds, and silver in the U15 women’s K1 4,000-metre in a field of 20 boats.
“I’m pretty happy about it because I’ve never won a lot of gold medals,” said Julianne.
“The four-kilometre, I ended up getting second but that was really nice. I was going against 15-year-olds and ended up just two seconds behind the person who got first. The two-kilometre … I beat my time by like two minutes, so I was really happy about that.”
Julianne and Yukon teammate Danni Wilkie-Hobus took gold in the U13 women’s K2 500-metre, and with Yukon’s Maeve McManus, Julianne won silver in the U17 women’s C2 500-metre.
Julianne, Wilkie-Hobus and Yukon teammates Mathilde Roldan and Sophie Molgat captured gold in the U13 women’s K4 200-metre.
“It was fun to have the experience with other people … on a big team,” said Julianne.
Yukon’s Bruce Porter sped to a pair of gold medals in the U11 men’s division. He won the K1 500-metre with about eight seconds to spare, and the K1 200-metre.
Porter and teammate Joel Girouard also notched gold in the U11 men’s K2 500-metre — winning by 28 seconds — and gold in the U11 K2 200-metre. They also picked up a bronze up an age group in the U13 men’s K2 500-metre.
Wilkie-Hobus also logged medals in solo events with silver in the U13 women’s K1 200-metre, and silver in the U13 women’s K1 2,000-metre — just 0.8 seconds behind the winner.
Molgat won silver in the U11 women’s K1 500-metre and placed fourth in the 200-metre.
Yukon’s Savannah Cash teamed up with an Outside paddler for bronze in the U19 women’s K2 1,000-metre and also placed seventh in the U19 women’s K1 1,000-metre.
McManus placed fourth in the U19 women’s C1 500-metre and took sixth in two other C1 events.
“For some of the older kids it was hard because some of the older kids have been paddling for like four years, and Maeve and Savanah just started this year,” said Girouard. “To jump in a sport at 17 is kind of tough. But they were happy with their results and happy they finished their races and weren’t too far behind.”
Roldan placed fifth in the U11 women’s K1 500-metre and seventh in the 200-metre event.
Cole Wilkie-Hobus paddled to a seventh place finish in the U15 men’s K1 4,000-metre and fifth in the B final of the U16 men’s K1 1,000-metre.
“I’m quite happy with how I did. I did a lot better than I expected,” said Cole. “I had fourths, fifths, strong finishes — it was good. It was a new experience; I had never done something like that before. It was a lot of fun, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
Yukoners Noah Gilbert and Alex Sumner took 12th and 18th, respectively, in the U15 men’s K1 4,000-metre.
To go with the medals he won with Porter, Joel Girouard captured bronze in the U11 men’s K1 200-metre. He also teamed up with three paddlers from other clubs for gold in the U13 men’s K4 200-metre.
Julianne, McManus, Cash, Danni Wilkie-Hobus and Cole Wilkie-Hobus — as well as Emily Crist and Rogan Perry who didn’t attend the Regina regatta — will represent Yukon in paddling at the 2017 Canada Summer Games next month in Winnipeg. The 2013 Games in Sherbrooke, Que. marked the first time Yukon was represented in the sport, with only two athletes competing.
“I’m really pumped about it, just really excited,” said Julianne.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org