Team USA

Team USA
Sloan's Lake

26 May 2015

Things are not always as they appear

I worked very hard in the weeks leading up to the World Cup in Duisburg, Germany. Heavy intense workouts on the water, gym workouts off the water, all pushing my body to the limits I could push.  I wanted to not only do my best but I wanted a faster time than I had gotten in OKC. Every time I dumped myself into the water, every time I wanted to stop the workout early, I reminded myself that I wouldn’t get faster if I didn’t keep pushing! My usual training partner wasn’t able to train during this time and so one of my fellow paddlers from the Kenmore~Cascade Canoe and Kayak Club, Monika Armitano volunteered her time and energy to being on the water with me while I shrived to get faster.  She was amazing and helped me tons.

When I left for Germany I felt prepared and ready.

We arrived very early with plenty of days so that we could get equipment sorted and go through classification. The classification process is how it is determined what disability class you will compete in, KL1, KL2, or KL3. Up to this point, nationally I had been put into the KL2 category.  
The Regattabahn  is a beautiful venue created specifically for fast paddling. It was incredible; I was so excited and couldn’t wait to get onto the water. The following days we had to share boats so we took turned doing our workouts and getting our race plans dialed in.

Then came classification day.  (dun dun dun da dun dun)

Everything got turned upside down for me.

There had been several rule changes for international competition earlier in the year and part of that was a change in the classification system. We knew things were different to years prior and this was exactly the reason we needed to go to World Cup, was to get classified in the new system to make sure things would go smoothly at World Championships.  Well, things did not go smoothly in Germany. I was told that I was not eligible to compete in Paracanoe. :(

I had read the rules, I had my medical forms and I meet the requirements for minimum eligibility… except apparently I don’t!?!  I was devastated!!

I spent the following days crying, reading rules, making phone calls, going to the venue and basically doing whatever I could do to help myself so that I could race. Things did not go my way and I ended up sitting the sidelines. I watched some amazing paddling from world class disabled and able-bodied paddlers. I was able to see friends from Finland and make new friends from other countries. I cheered on my Team USA teammates and tried to make the best of the terrible situation.