Friday, October 25, 2013

Living with the Competition
          Paddling at SDCKT is uniquely conducive to getting whole families involved.  In most sports such as soccer, baseball and football the majority of the parents are limited to taking their turns providing snacks and just being spectators.  In paddling, parents volunteer to help out at races, regattas and time trials in many capacities.  Also, in many families, more than one of the children and often one or both parents paddle.  Paddle sports are unique in that children can compete in the same regattas as their parents, beginners can participate at the same events as elite athletes and everyone can paddle recreationally for fun and exercise.
            With this heavy family involvement in paddling, over the last fifteen years SDCKT has had many siblings paddling together.  Several of them have competed against each other because they were born within two years of each other.  SDCKT currently has two sets of twins paddling with and against each other. 
We asked the Borm and Miller twins how they liked being involved in kayaking together. “It’s different because you can’t really go home and talk about issues that you might have had with a K2 partner because that person might be your sibling,” said Danielle Borm. The sibling rivalries take over at home and on the water as these sisters compete with and against each other. Leilani Borm said that they are, “always expected to push each other and try to beat each other” during practices and competitions. The high expectations bring great success to the talented paddlers as they bring their competitive edge to every workout.
In the sport of kayaking, paddlers tend to always be sprinting on the water but the Millers do not fail to keep each other in check as they train together. “When we do a level two workout one of us will randomly speed up so we always have to remind the other that it’s only level two!” exclaimed Michael Miller. His brother, Ryan, agreed that, “it is a lot of competition,” and confessed that, “it doesn’t always end after every practice”.
Training with someone is one thing but paddling in the same boat as that person has its significant differences. The Borm twins have competed with each other in K2 at multiple competitions throughout the years and have shared some fun and interesting memories. “Sometimes we have good K2 experiences and sometimes we just don’t…” said Leilani who enjoys paddling with her sister, “half of the time, but the other half……,” their arguments from home continue as they get on the water.  Danielle shared, “We have our sibling issues but we are a good K2 when we want to be”.  They had tremendous improvement in their team boat from the first time they paddled a double together at the age of ten. “We almost sunk our boat after flipping in a lot” said Danielle.
“It’s a different experience going K2 with Ryan because we each have a different stroke style,” Michael explained. Both boys agreed that the competition between them is present in a K2 which makes it difficult to work together. However, they are better teammates in a K4 since it’s not just the two of them in the boat.
Sibling rivalry may cause some issues but the Borm and Miller twins agree that paddling together has given them more motivation at home and during workouts! “You always have a partner to run with and someone to push you constantly,” said Ryan. Michael explained how the rivalry is motivating to him when he sees his brother, “out there beating him, [he] knows that [I] will try harder to catch up and go faster than him”! The Borms encourage one another to get faster by always competing with each other and also by, “going to the gym together to swim and do pull ups,” said Danielle. Leilani is thankful that, “there is always someone who has to wake you up for the early morning workouts in the summertime”.
Paddle sports can be great for the whole family- as long as you don’t mind living with the competition!



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Canoe/Kayak University: Sprinting towards Higher Education

Originally published on USACK blog, by Joe Jacobi. 

One of the High Performance metrics that I pay attention to is the number of our canoe/kayak athletes who continue to train and compete into their collegiate years. Unfortunately  this number is far too low in the U.S. as I've watched many bright junior racing careers come to a halt at the end of high school for lack of university-level opportunities in paddlesports.

The development of collegiate paddling opportunities for prospective U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes is critical to USA Canoe/Kayak's High Performance program. Most of our international competitors benefit from the financial support of their governments including educational opportunities within the university system. As the "Under-23" World Championship events (targeting ages 19-23) increase in importance within the International Canoe Federation, collegiate paddlesports programs here in the U.S. must play a stronger role in Olympic and Paralympic journeys.

While cultivating university-level opportunities is a long-term initiative in the U.S., the sport is making encouraging progress. Just over three years ago, Oklahoma City University became thefirst University in the country to make Canoe/Kayak a collegiate varsity sport and support the program with scholarships opportunities. This program aligned with the development theOklahoma City Boathouse District and the opening of the Devon Boathouse and High Performance Center, which serves as home to Oklahoma City University's Canoe/Kayak and Rowing teams.

Now, more good news comes from Chris Barlow, 1992 Olympian in Sprint Kayaking and Head Coach of the San Diego Canoe/Kayak Team. One of USA Canoe/Kayak's Platinum Gold level clubs, San Diego Canoe/Kayak Team has reached an agreement with Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) that encourages canoe/kayak athletes to pursue their goals on the water and in the classroom with the opportunity to be considered for for tuition support while attending PLNU. 
Read more about the San Diego Canoe/Kayak Team/PLNU agreement ----> HERE

While there is still much work to do in creating more collegiate paddling opportunities, it's important to recognize positive momentum when it happens - many thanks to San Diego Canoe/Kayak Team and PLNU.
Such progress isn't just a victory for our athletes but the schools win too. Not only are Oklahoma City University and PLNU recognized as leaders and key partners within the Olympic Family but they stand apart in the academic community too with unique and creative programs and ambassadors which resonate with potential students, Alumni, faculty and staff.
While a sustainable Collegiate program does not happen overnight, our Clubs are now better positioned to develop partnerships with colleges and universities in their communities that build on the success we are seeing in California and Oklahoma. 
With gratitude, 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

International stage awaits kayakers

Originally posted at UT San Diego

Paddle power

Five local high school athletes have qualified to compete for the U.S. in the Olympic Hopes Regatta scheduled Friday through Sunday in the Czech Republic:
Name / School /Yr.
Sammie Barlow / Bishop's / Jr.
Leilani Borm / Classical / Jr.
Danielle Borm / Classical / Jr.
Carly DaCosta / Mira Mesa / So.
Jonny Espinosa / La Jolla / Jr.

Sammie Barlow received a custom-built mini-kayak from a family friend while in preschool. To help keep the craft stable, a cement block was placed beside her for extra weight.
It seems the Clairemont resident was born to kayak since her father, Chris, paddled for the U.S. in the 1992 Olympics.
Once the younger Barlow moved up to a regular kayak, she truly flipped for the sport — seven times right into the water during her first practices.
That’s a rite of passage in kayaking as her peers can testify from the San Diego Canoe and Kayak Team, coached by her father. It can also be one of the first steps on the path to international competition.
Sammie Barlow is making her debut at the Olympic Hopes Regatta this week in the Czech Republic. Joining her on the U.S. team are twins Danielle and Leilani Borm, Carly DaCosta and Jonny Espinosa from the local club. In all, 22 countries are entered in the annual event for ages 15-17.
“You put your absolute hardest into a race, and whatever comes, it’s going to be exciting,” said Barlow, a junior at The Bishop’s School, who played on the Knights’ San Diego Section Division III girls water polo championship team last season. “It doesn’t matter if you win, you’re in a boat, and you’re doing what you love.”
Barlow experienced a breakthrough three years ago when she won her first gold medal in the 11-12 age division at the Junior Nationals in a one-seat kayak, or K1 as it’s called.
“I was an underdog because I was the youngest,” said Barlow. “I wasn’t supposed to win the race, but it turned out that I did. I was at my podium, and my dad gave me the medal. That was my most exciting moment. I said to myself, ‘This is where I want to go.’ ”
Barlow also teamed with the Borm twins and DaCosta to prevail that year in the K4 500-meter, ending a five-year title reign by a club from Gig Harbor, Wash.
“We’d been keeping an eye on these four for a while,” Chris Barlow said. “When they did that, we knew that we had a special group.”
That was also the first year on the club for DaCosta, who experienced daily flips in practice at the outset but then demonstrated a quick learning curve.
“I was really motivated just because there were a lot of girls my age, and they were super nice,” said DaCosta, a sophomore at Mira Mesa High, who also plays water polo and swims for the Marauders. “I wanted to paddle with them, so I pushed myself just so I could be with them.”
The Borm twins, who live in Bonsall and attend Classical Academy in Escondido as juniors, also became hooked by the challenge to improve when they got their start four years ago.
“Once I got into more intermediate boats versus beginner ones, I really liked that,” Leilani Borm said. “The older people go faster, and I’m real competitive.”
The sisters acknowledge that can include a sibling rivalry. In the larger picture, teammates compete against each other in K1 boats and then join forces in K2 and K4 kayaks.
At this summer’s Junior Nationals, San Diego girls swept the top three spots in the 16U K1 200-meter race (Barlow, DaCosta and Leilani Borm, in order). With Danielle Borm, they took gold in the K4 500-meter race.
Espinosa qualified to make the trip to the Czech Republic in the K2 200-meter race with Miles Cross-Whiter of Seattle, his teammate in national competition and training camps. Espinosa specializes in the same distance for the La Jolla High track team as a junior.
“I’ve been really successful at sprints,” the 5-foot-3 Espinosa said. “My strength-to-height ratio is pretty good. I’m just a speed guy. It’s exhilarating, especially in the K2 boats.”
As it happens, Chris Barlow will coach the U.S. team this weekend along with his assistant, Heather Fenske, a former goalie for the San Diego State women’s water polo team. They were named to these positions in February. The San Diego athletes qualified in trials during April.
The aptly named Olympic Hopes Regatta is meant as a steppingstone for future Olympians. For added inspiration, the local paddlers can look to Carrie Johnson, a three-time Olympian, who got her start in the early years of the San Diego club, which came together in 1996.
“I’m really excited,” DaCosta said. “I never really imagined getting this far already, and I’m trying to see just how far I can actually get.”

Saturday, July 27, 2013

SDCKT is proud to have Greg Crouse as a member!!

originally published at

Loma Linda University Team PossAbilities Member Earns Spot on the USA Canoe/Kayak National Team

Greg Crouse, 44, of Fullerton, Calif., a PossAbilities member for the last four years and who is on track to compete in the 2016 Paralympics as part of PossAbilities’ “Road to Rio” program, won his qualifying event to make it to the team.

A member of the Loma Linda University Team PossAbilities has secured a spot on the USA Canoe/Kayak National Team, and will represent the country at the ParaSprint World Championships in Duinsburg, Germany next month.

Greg Crouse, 44, of Fullerton, Calif., a PossAbilities member for the last four years and who is on track to compete in the 2016 Paralympics as part of PossAbilities’ “Road to Rio” program, won his qualifying event to make it to the team.

The 2013 National Team Trials were held this month in Lake Placid, New York, on the flat waters of Mirror Lake. Crouse competed alongside fellow paddlers, both juniors and seniors, and won his 200-meter event with a time of 58.07 seconds, which is 2.01 seconds faster than his last year’s qualifying time.

The victory marks the third time that Crouse will represent the United States at the World Championships, out of four attempts at making the team.

“I am just honored and proud to be able to serve the United States in this capacity,” said Crouse, a retired Army veteran who, in 1988, lost his left leg after a drunken driver struck him while he was walking.

He joined PossAbilities after hearing about the organization from a friend, and credits the organization for helping and motivating him to become an elite athlete.

PossAbilities is a community outreach program developed by Loma Linda University Center East Campus and supported by founding partner, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. PossAbilities’ goal is to offer physically challenged people born with or have permanent physical injury a sense of community by offering activities and practical help.

The group has sponsored Crouse in his athletic pursuits, and provided him with a V-1 Rudderless canoe, which allowed him to maximize his training and compete in more races. He is also part of the organization’s “Road to Rio” program, which supports athletes who have the potential to compete in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

To learn more about the “Road to Rio,” go to .

“PossAbilities has allowed me to be the best that I can be,” Crouse said.

Photo Caption: Loma Linda University Team PossAbilities member Greg Crouse credits PossAbilities for his success, including recently earning a spot on the USA Canoe/Kayak National Team.

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    Platinum Gold Level Sprint Clubs

    Originally posted at: USACK

    USA Canoe/Kayak Update from CEO Joe Jacobi

    Stronger Clubs = Stronger USA Canoe/Kayak
    Having spent considerable time over the past few weeks on USA Canoe/Kayak's 2014 High Perforance Plan, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in the details of our National Programs. During this time, our coaches and staff engage in thoughtful and challenging discussions about the quality of and return-on-investment on all of our programs.

    One program in which I'm proud of the progress we're making is our Sprint Club Recognition Program. Our National Sprint Development Director, Mac Hickox, developed this tiered system of benchmarks geared to BOTH high performance and Club sustainability.

    Whether you're a forming a new Club from scratch, expanding an existing Club towards high level competition or moving an operational high performing Club towards greater financial independence, our Club Recognition Programmaps out that progression in alignment with the USA Canoe/Kayak's mission and goals.

    With that, we are pleased to announce our first Platinum Gold Level Sprint Clubs:

    These three Clubs met the highest standards in the areas of Club Management, Program Offerings, Community Outreach and SafeSport Practices.

    Providing Clubs with more tools and resources to build stronger organizations to better support their athletes and coaches will ultimately raise stanadards across all the key touchpoints of the sport and move of us closer to our mission and goals.

    Congratulations to all three of these Clubs.

    With gratitude,
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    Thursday, February 28, 2013

    SOCAL Winter Race Series Points after 7 races

    Bayley and Carly hang on to their leads as they get another race closer to winning an Epic Kayaks and a Valhalla Surfski........
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    For the first time in the California High School Paddling League  -  Scripps Ranch takes the lead on overall points pushing paddling power houses Bishops and Cathedral down to 2nd and 3rd places....
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    Scripps Ranch Senior and winner of last years USSSC Scholarship Michael Lowe takes the lead on overall points in the SOCAL Winter Race Series Junior Points....
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