Kaitlyn McElroy clinched a spot for the first time on the 2013 USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint National Team last week at the trials in Oklahoma City, Okla. With first-place finishes in both the 200 and 500 meter individual kayak races (K1) and again in the 500 meter partner race (K2), McElroy seized the vacancy recently left by retired three-time Olympian, Carrie Johnson.
“I was definitely really happy with my results,” McElroy said. “I felt that I made a lot of gains in this past training season. It was nice to actually see them pay off.”
“For the foreseeable future, my plan is to focus on the K2 with Maggie [Hogan], we definitely have a good combination going,” McElroy said of her K2 partner and national team member since 2005. “We’re strong paddlers together; we’re good friends. I think that our chances in K2 are pretty good for getting on a podium, definitely in the 1000-meter, and cracking that A Final in the 500.”
McElroy and Hogan train together at the Oklahoma City Boathouse District’s facility. “We’re able to push each other,” McElroy said. “If one person were able to make an improvement, we know that it’s just going to help the K2 go faster. So it’s a constant battle to be the best, but at the same time it’s for our mutual benefit”
Hogan finished second in the K1 500 meter race and third in the K1 200 meter.
On the men’s side, London 2012 Olympian, Tim Hornsby, maintained his spot atop the senior men’s kayak 200m standings by crossing the line one quarter of a second before Ryan Dolan. Both Hornsby and Dolan received nominations to represent team USA in the upcoming 2013 international competition season.
In senior men’s canoe, LCKC teammates Robert Finlayson and Ian Ross won the 200m and 1000m finals. Ross and Ben Hefner took first in the C2 1000m race.
The event also marks the beginning of the selection process for the Sprint National Junior Team and the Under-23 National Team. Both categories will be contested at the 2013 ICF Sprint Junior and Under-23 World Championships in Welland, Canada, Aug. 1-4.
The junior men’s kayak races became a battle between local paddler Dylan Puckett (Jones, Okla.) and Istvan Urban (San Diego, Calif.). Puckett finished first in the 200m, while Urban won the 1000m Final. The two athletes then joined forces to win the K2 200m and 1000m distances.
In junior women’s kayak, Natalie Griffin and Bailey Nurmia claimed the 200m and 500m distances, respectively. In canoe, Makenzie Sousley and Gavin Ross finished first in women’s and men’s 200m, respectively.
Although the ParaCanoe National Team Trials will not take place until July, USA Canoe/Kayak offers ParaCanoe racing at all National Sprint events. D. Eiter of won all three of his races. ParaCanoe racing will make its inaugural appearance at the Paralympic Games in Brazil in 2016.