Julianne Girouard races to first place in the any boat 2K open class. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Yukon paddlers out for flatwater championships

Sixteen compete in third annual event

Numbers were down but fun level remained high at the Yukon Flatwater Championships.

Sixteen paddlers, down from 21, hit the water at the third annual event at Schwatka Lake on Aug. 19.

“It was still fun,” said Flatwater Yukon head coach Daniel Girouard. “All the older kids who went to Canada Games were away camping with their families after our two-and-a-half weeks away in Winnipeg.”

Though it was the third annual Yukon championship for the Olympic sport, it was the first since Flatwater Yukon splintered off from the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club to become a separate entity at the start of this season.

Two pairs of siblings really stand out in the results because their names are so often at the top. Julianne and Joel Girouard, and Danni and Cole Wilkie-Hobus, each had divisions wins.

Julianne was in a winning boat six times, including in the open women’s K1 200-metre and 500-metre. Joel had two division wins, including with his sister in the open K2 200-metre. Cole logged five division wins, including the open men’s K1 500-metre. Danni won one division, with Julianne and Daniel in the open C4 200-metre.

“They’ve been paddling the longest time … the last three years,” said Daniel Girouard, father of Julianne and Joel. “So I think it’s kind of normal they’re at the top. The rest of them are doing really well too and hopefully will be sticking around and competing next year.”

Flatwater Yukon sent seven paddlers to the Canada Summer Games earlier this month in Winnipeg. Emily Crist beat a paddler from Nova Scotia to place seventh in the 5,000-metre K1 race for the highest finish by any Team Yukon athlete in any sport.

Members of FY also won nine medals Westerns Regatta in Calgary a month ago and 17 medals at the 2017 Canada Day Regatta, early July in Regina, Sask.

The club also had 142 kids participate in the summer camps over a nine-week period and had 16 paddlers in the competitive program, up from five last summer.

FY paddlers will be back in race mode for one last regatta this season in Maple Ridge, B.C. in a couple weeks.

“I think we had great season this summer,” said Daniel. “We had a lot more kids wanting to join our competitive programs, which is great. The kids are wanting to train more and get stronger for next year.

“The championships went really well, even considering our numbers were a little lower, it was still lots of fun.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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Two boats fight for the lead in the K2 race. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

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