Team USA

Team USA
Sloan's Lake

10 June 2014


I would have never guessed that getting into the right that boat would make my life so much better! From that moment on I felt like a different person! The next days at Marjanienmen were spent getting time on the water paddling rather than struggling to balance. 

I was fortunate enough to borrow the Viper 55 to go to the training camp at Kisakallio in Lohja. This was an opportunity of a lifetime. I joined the camp of paddlers from all around Finland including the Finnish National Teams for kayak and rowing. The best part was that an Olympian and former Finnish National Team member, Anne Rikala personally coached me. She is an incredible person, terrific paddler and a wealth of information. My week in Kisakallio was incredible and I made huge leaps of progress with my paddling in my time here. I am truly blessed for these opportunities!

My next step is returning to the USA to attend LakePlacid International Regatta in the beginning of July. That race will serve as a qualifier for the 2014 U.S. Paracanoe team as well as a selection race for World Championships in Moscow, Russia. No matter what the outcome of the race next month, my big goal is going to the Summer Paralympic Games in Rio 2016 and that is where my focus lies. I will take everything that I have been so fortunate to learn here and apply it to being a better paddler, athlete and person in the future. Dreams don’t come true without the support of many people and my road to Rio just got shorter with the help of everyone here in Finland. Kiitos!

Below are some photos by Katja Saarinen from the camp:
Happy Day!
Start practice- photo by Anne 

Anne with the boys

02 June 2014

Paddling in Finland

Had such a good day at the Marjanienmen today. The weather was not in our favor so the gentleman that I was supposed to work with thought I’d be better off working on the Kayak Ergo. This was a good way of working on my technique without the balance issues and concerns of taking a swim in the almost dangerously cold Baltic Sea. This session went really well and he was pleased with the progress I made. Although I must admit I wanted to push harder and go faster, but apparently that technique equals speed and speed does not equal technique so we worked on my stroke.

My day got a lot better as it turns out that the club does indeed have “my boat” the Viper 55. I was able to try a back rest that Katja’s dad had fashioned for me to try to help my muscle control and balance. I simply paddled around the dock but already felt LOTS better than the previous days. We then worked on some different strokes in the water for positioning. I had a huge smile on my face leaving the boathouse today!!!

With my back rest in the Viper 55