Interest in water sports continues to grow in Windsor.
Christian Hall, the head coach of the Pisiquid Canoe Club, said the organization has made incredible strides in recruitment, and that bodes well for the future.
“It's been a really exciting year for the club. Our membership is up significantly,” he said.
Last year, there were between 80 and 90 participants; this year, there was more than 110 members enrolled.
Additionally, they’ve seen incredible growth in their year-round and off-season programs.
“When I started here in April of 2017, we had two off-season athletes,” he said.
By that fall, there were 15 regular off-season athletes. In 2018, that number climbed to 23. This fall, they’re looking at nearly 40 athletes planning to carry on with training.
“So those 23 athletes were really the basis of our success this year,” said Hall.
“Most of them were in doing weights and circuit training and swimming and running through the winter. So they're a very, very committed group of athletes and it's a hard commitment to make when you're 12, 13, 14,” he said.
And that commitment helped result in medals at the recent U12/U14 Atlantic Championships. In total, the Pisiquid Canoe Club took home nine medals.
“It's been about 10 to 15 years since the club was consistently winning any medals at this competition. So to come up with nine, after a bunch of years of not winning any, was really big,” Hall said.
The team of Maura Macumber, Ava Woodman, Jenna Wile, and Kyanna Hope brought home gold in the U12 Women K4 500 metre, while Macumber and Wile paired up for the U12 Women K2 500 and took home silver. Macumber also placed second in the U12 Women K1 500 race.
A silver medal also went to the U12 Men C4 500 team which consisted of Hayden Dill, Rylan Carrigan, Jet Briand, and Max Wood.
Dill and Carrigan also had a third place finish in the U12 Men K2 500 race, and Carrigan placed third in the U12 Men K1 500.
The Pisiquid Canoe Club also competed in war canoe challenges, which consist of 14 paddlers plus a coach, at Lake Banook and brought home three bronze medals.
“The war canoe events tend to favour the big clubs because you have to find 14 people in the age group or you have to bring up younger athletes to fill the boat,” said Hall.
For a small club, that can be a daunting task, but Pisiquid rose to the challenge.
“We were actually the only club to win medals in all three of the under 12 war canoes, which is really exciting,” he said, beaming with pride.
“I'm really proud and not just of the athletes but of all our coaching staff, the parents, the volunteers, the people who put in time to make the club successful,” he said.
Hall said it has been a team effort and foresees great things in the club’s future.
The majority of youth will still be under 12 or under 14 next season so Hall said they’ll take another run at Atlantics in 2020, and they’re hoping to send a group to nationals in Ottawa.
“Our goal is to send a girls’ war canoe crew, and a mixed war canoe crew next year to Ottawa for the 2020 nationals. And also some K1s, K2s, K4s — sending some smaller boats,” he said.
With a resurgence in interest in the sport, Hall said now is a great time for people to get involved.
“There's never a wrong time to start our sport. And we're always looking for new members,” said Hall.
“We've even had people register halfway through the summer this year that ended up going to the Atlantic Championships and getting a medal in war canoe. So it's never a bad time to find out more about the sport.”
The following Pisiquid Canoe Club athletes received medals at the U12/U14 Atlantic Championships, which took place on Aug. 22-24 on Lake Banook in Dartmouth.
• U12 Women K4 500, 1st place: Maura Macumber, Ava Woodman, Jenna Wile, and Kyanna Hope
• U12 Women K1 500, 2nd place: Maura Macumber
• U12 Men C4 500, 2nd place: Hayden Dill, Rylan Carrigan, Jet Briand, and Max Wood
• U12 Women K2 500, 2nd place: Maura Macumber and Jenna Wile
• U12 Men K2 500, 3rd place: Hayden Dill/Rylan Carrigan
• U12 Men War Canoe (C15), 3rd place: captain Tom Hall
• U12 Men K1 500, 3rd place: Rylan Carrigan
• U12 Women War Canoe (C15), 3rd place: captain Christian Hall
• U12 Mixed War Canoe (C15), 3rd place: captain Tom Hall
DID YOU KNOW?
The Pisiquid Canoe Club is located in downtown Windsor, adjacent to Lake Pisiquid.
The club, which formed in 1975, offers summer programs for all ages, as well as off-season training.
Ryan Cochrane, who competed at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, got his start at the club. He was the first club member to compete at the Junior Worlds, Canada Games, Senior Worlds, Pan Am’s and the Olympics.
To learn more, visit: https://pisiquidcanoeclub.ca/