Welcome to the CAN Fund Athlete Blog!
This is where Canadian Athletes will be posting as they train and prepare to represent Canada on the World Stage! Keep up to date on when and where our athletes are training and competing!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Hello again,

Sunny skies, warmth and a nice 18-25knot breeze is now just a lovely memory of the past three weeks in Fremantle, Australia. I've come back to Vancouver to some snow on the ground - an occasional peek of the sun, but mainly to rain and 3-5 degrees. Winter training (on the water) - seems a bit cruel after training in paradise. I'm going to be working on how to suck it up when my hands and feet are frozen stubs... Of course alongside working on my sailing skills too. 

My trip down under was a great experience. Spending 3 weeks training there definitely gave me the opportunity to see what the sailing conditions were like - and what could be expected for our Olympic Qualifiers next year in December. For the week leading up to the Regatta, we had very similar conditions every day - mostly windy (which is the predominant wind called the "Fremantle Doctor"), yet for the regatta the weather pattern was far from normal (shifty and light/medium winds). We had 10 boards in my fleet, all of which were pretty good or pretty much the best girls in the World. Racing was tight and with such a small fleet, any mistake made was very costly and points were not easily made up. I had a mixed bag of results, starting off the event very consistently in the middle of the pack, but towards the end I lost my stride (since the start of training, I was nursing a sprain in both my foot and hand, which were continuously painful). I did not have many good starts and it's never easy to come from behind, yet the one good start that I did have, I led around the top mark but slipped back to 5th throughout the race. In the medal race I made one tactical error right before the finish, costing me 2 places on the scoreboard - thus finishing 8th overall. I leave the regatta with a few more tactical and strategical lessons learned and a list of skills I need to work on. I'm glad I have another year before trials...!!! 

Other than learning about the venue, I booked my accommodation for next year already - very important as everyone was booking up places for next year and the prices were getting ridiculous (kind of like Vancouver 2010 Olympic prices). It was also a nice time to bond with my fellow Canadian Sailing Team teammates - on one of our day's off a bunch of us took the coach boat to Rottnest Island (about 22kms from Fremantle) to have some fun... Like sprinting up sand dunes (... not that anyone is very competitive or anything)!

And now I'm back at home - getting back into training. Yesterday was my last rest day - so I enjoyed it by snowshoeing up Cypress Mountain with my friends! Yeah for cross-training. I'll be home till early January - sailing and working on my fitness before I head to Miami for the first World Cup of 2011 - Miami Olympic Classes Regatta. 
until then...
Bring out the sun PLEASE!!! - that's all I'm asking for... just for the hours I need to train on the water!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

JOHN HASTINGS - Canoe/Kayak Slalom

The period between fall and winter is the worst time of year for any paddle sport athlete.  It’s too cold to really benefit from on-water training, and it is either not cold enough, or there is not enough snow for the off-season cross-training (eg. Cross-Country) to really kick-off.  Thanks to CAN Fund, I was able to avoid this time year in Ottawa and fund a three-week training camp down to Charlotte, NC where conditions are much warmer!  Timing could not have been better; the Americans are currently engaged in a week-long training camp here also, which is creating a very competitive training environment. It’s great!

So, it’s another two-weeks down here for me, and then I am back to Ottawa for 6-weeks, before travels to Mexico, Australia for the winter months begin!  It’s exciting times, only 614 days left to start of the Games!  I can hardly wait.

Monday, November 22, 2010

DONNA VAKALIS - Modern Pentathlon

Rio de Janeiro, 2010 Pan American Championships  

 I am writing this from an 18th floor hotel room overlooking Copacabana on a 28 degree day.  This room with an amazing view and proximity to a famous tourist beach is not the level of luxury one usually experiences at an international pentathlon competition. Actually, the competition--- the 2010 Modern Pentathlon Pan American Championships and NORCECA [[North American, Central American and the Caribbean] Championships ended yesterday.  This morning I packed up my bulky equipment bags, checked out of our official competition hotel expecting to fly back to gritty Ontario weather (and return to gritty winter training regimen). After getting to the airport,  all the way through customs and on to the airplane, after doing up the buckle of my seat belt on the airplane, things took a turn. 

My teammate Mathea Stevens was on the same flight.  I will skip over the play-by-play details here [....] and jump to the conclusion that has us both enjoying a complimentary night in an upscale part of Rio de Janeiro. Mathea and I were pulled off our plane due to our sporting equipment being held up. We have sorted it out. And into the bargain of this unexpected extra night in Rio, we have an opportunity for much coveted rest and a much appreciated dose of vitamin D.  

So here I am reporting to you on my day off in Rio.  Our Canadian National Team, including two CAN Fund recipients (myself and teammate Joshua Riker-Fox), came to Brazil this weekend and attained no fewer than seven podium finishes.  [Pause here for a quick recap of the pentathlon competition day... from pente “five” + athlon “contest” .... in a single exciting day,  the pentathlete competes in 5 disciplines in this order: 1. Fencing.  2.  Swimming.  3. Equestrian showjumping. 4 +5.  Combined run and shoot event! ]  The Canadian pentathletes medaled in each of individual, team and relay categories, in both the men's and women's events. Again and again the Canadian flag was hoisted for the podium presentations.  One highlight was team Canada taking the gold in the women's team category, ahead of strong teams fielded by countries like Cuba and the USA.  And then the next day our women's relay edged out strong contenders to earn one of two coveted quota spots for the World Championships in Cairo in 2011.
In total, as a team we took home so much hardware that it has taken some extra skillful packing to not be caught for extra weight at the airport check-in. 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

THEA CULLEY - Field Hockey

November 18, 2010

I live in Vancouver with Katie Baker. She is my captain, my roommate, and my best friend. We have played field hockey together since we were members of the Junior National team in 2004 and without her, I’m not sure I would still be playing. I am one of the fortunate CAN Fund recipients from the last application period. Baker, as most know her by, was on the wait list. I felt guilty receiving the money when she didn’t because I knew first hand the financial obligations she faced and all the extra shifts she picked up at work so she could continue to train.

On October 26, we attended the launch of CAN Fund Vancouver. It was a wonderful evening at the Hycroft Mansion and the initiative by Ben Rutledge and Jake Wetzel to sponsor BC athletes in particular is exciting. Part of the evening included speeches by past recipients. Anna Rice spoke about being a CAN Fund recipient but that she was retiring from Badminton and therefore declining acceptance of her $6000. She also announced that because she wasn’t accepting her bursary, she would be passing it along to another athlete. When she announced Baker’s name, I was holding back tears and my cheeks were hurting from smiling so hard. I looked to Baker and she was in shock. Later she confessed that she thought Anna was giving the money to another badminton player who happened to be named Katie Baker as well.

The next day I left for Gatineau, Quebec to participate in the 2010 AthletesCAN Athlete Forum. I also had the honour of being a part of the KidsCAN School Day. This year, over 30 National Athletes from across the country taught over 700 kids the importance of sport and physical activity. We also had the opportunity to share with and teach the kids about our respective sports. I was teamed up with Christianne Varty, a member of the Junior National Ringette team. My favourite group of the day was a group of 4 girls who were around 13 years old. When we first started sharing with them, I asked if they played sports. They all said no. I asked them what their hobbies were and one of them responded with Facebook. Christianne and I decided the best way to connect with the girls would be to play 3 vs. 3 ringette with them. When we first started playing, they were timid and reserved. Christianne and I led by example and soon enough, the girls were running, laughing, and aggressively checking each other. It was so rewarding to watch them loosen up.

After reflecting on those two experiences, I have realized the power we have as athletes. We have the power to bring change and to inspire. Anna has shown extraordinary leadership and grace by passing on her CAN Fund bursary to Baker. She could have easily retired and still accepted the money, justifying it as retribution for many years of self-funded training. But she didn’t and I want to thank her for her generosity. Looking forward, I hope to be able to inspire others the way Anna and those four girls in Quebec have inspired me. I have been given the gift of being an amateur athlete and I plan to pass on as much as I can.

Thea Culley
Women’s Field Hockey Team


Hi there!

Robin Randall here from the Canadian Mens' Olympic Water Polo Team.  We're down in sunny Southern California to log some joint training hours at the various colleges down here.  In the opposing corner we will face Pepperdine, Long Beach, USC, and UCLA while we continue to train throughout the trip.  It's definitely been a nice bit of timing considering the first snow fell on Calgary in spades the day we arrived.  Playing a game outdoors in Malibu (Pepperdine University) sure does beat slugging away back at the training centre!  We'll soon be back in The Great White North, though, with preparations for our next training camp with the Italians between Christmas and New Year's.

As always,
Your goalie,
Robin Randall
Fulfilling your goaltending needs
Since 1987

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

KARA ZAKRZEWSKI - Beach Volleyball

So much has happened here in Chennai in such a short period of time!  Let me rewind to the place where I last left off, after we’d just finished being Indian models for an evening. 
After our performance high ;), we woke up the next morning just in time to accompany our 2 Canadian men’s teams, an American team, and 1 player from Great Britain to a local orphanage.  We loaded the taxis with all sorts of fruit, candies, drinks and some sports equipment and set off on a 45min or so drive to the orphanage.  One of the big differences here has been the amount of debris, garbage, stray dogs and people scattered in the streets. We drive through areas that are quite pristine (usually a government building, the police headquarters or a hotel), but right next store to that there will be a pile of rubble and garbage and homeless people sleeping in the street or in their tuck-tucks.  It’s such an obvious contrast, an oxymoron of classes so to speak.  As we left the downtown core of Chennai, the level of poverty and amount of garbage increased dramatically, and the area around the orphanage was extremely impoverished.  However, I was very pleased to see that the orphanage was itself a cute, very clean little building that surprisingly housed about 25 children.  
The creator of the orphanage, a beautiful little man glowing with love, explained that he was inspired to build the orphanage when a young girl he knew lost her parents and was forced to sell drugs on behalf of her aunt in order to have a place to live.  He saw that this girl whom he loved did not receive love from her aunt, and so feared that without the love a viscous cycle would start in which she turned to the drugs or even prostitution in her search for love.  He believed that if this girl were given shelter, food and above all else an abundance of love, she would turn out ok.  And, so the orphanage was started, and now holds boys and girls of different ages and backgrounds, all of whom were beautiful, respectful and loving kids.  The creator explained that some kids were delivered to him by the police after they were found abandoned at only a few days of age, others were left parentless after the tsunami, or because their parents died of age and some others were the children of drug addicts.  All of them were given equal love and opportunity by this beautiful man and his staff.  (For more information please visit www.campassionchildrenhome.org).
We entered the orphanage to meet the children, who were all seated in their small common room which was brimming with excitement.  The kids sat there as we introduced ourselves (a lot of them know basic english, with the oldest kids being able to communicate simply as they all attend the local public school where english is taught).  After each person had said his/her name and where he/she is from, the kids would say ‘Hello‘ in unison with their cute little indian accents.  It was just too cute (video to be posted soon, click here to check it out)  They then proceeded to each stand up and say their names and my heart just melted.  Of course, we echoed back ‘Hello’ to each one of them after they had introduced themselves.  We then headed out to a local vacant lot of about 12 feet by 12 feet (these kids do not have a playground of their own) to play some soccer/volleyball/cricket/catch.  The kids had so much fun, and so did all of us.  I felt so utterly grateful for all I have been given in my life, and was so happy if only for 1 morning to give some of that back to these kids who have so little.  On the way back, all the kids took our hands, so that all you could see was these tall westerners being led back to the orphanage by these beautiful little kids.  When we returned, the kids disappeared to do whatever they do, but the owners put out all sorts of drinks and treats and cakes for us - much of it was what we had brought for them!!!  This gentleman had definitely learned the lesson that you have to give in order to receive, as he continues to find funding for the orphanage and continues to give of himself as well.  Despite having so little, I swear I have never met a happier and a more positively radiant man in my life, brimming with love.  What a great gift of awareness he gave me, and what a great gift of gratitude did the children give me.  Wow!


THOMAS HALL - Sprint Canoe/Kayak

I haven’t been updating very often because there isn’t a whole lot on which to report. I’ve been busy with school and training hard down here in Florida. There’s a good crew of paddlers down here and we’ve been pushing each other on the water and in the gym. The water has been excellent (=flat) and the weather has been hovering around 25c most days.

This is a short camp for us, at only three weeks, and then it’s back to the cold in Montreal for about a week and then I head to South America to climb a mountain. More on that later.
Big news in my association, Canoe Kayak Canada sprint side has found a new High Performance Director in Barney Wainwright. Graham Barton, the previous HPD, was snatched up by own the podium around the end of summer and officially stepped down on Oct. 1st. It was a big deal for me and, I think, most of us because Graham had been in the role our whole careers. I know I’ll miss Graham but it’s always exciting to see what fresh eyes can bring to a team.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

SARAH BOUDENS - Canoe/Kayak Slalom

Top 10 Result at the British Open!

The British Open was held October 30th and 31st at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham, England on the Trent River.  The artificial course in Nottingham is an excellent world class venue for training and racing and has hosted major international events in the past including the European Championships in 2009.  The British Open attracted participants from all over the UK and Europe…plus two Canadians.

I’ve been training in Nottingham since the Worlds in September and have very much enjoyed my time here.  The whitewater course has allowed me to work on the technical and physical training I need in this important offseason.  Unfortunately the water here contains some nastiness which my Canadian stomach is not immune to.  I have been struggling with what the Brits refer to as the “Trent Trots.” 

Stomach problems are extremely common for the whitewater team as we travel around the world.  As many people know travelers are often warned not to drink the tap water.  Unfortunately we do much worse than that by paddling in the dirtiest water and sometimes flipping which can mean getting a nice mouthful of the stuff.  This summer while we were training in Prague we paddled by some bloated dead rats and plenty of dead fish in the warm up area.  Can you say disgusting??

Anyway, I’ve yet to see dead animals here in Nottingham but it does smell very much like sewage when it rains…..

I was feeling less than ideal the week leading into the British Open but luckily I had lots of time on the water previously which helped a great deal.  Saturday was the qualifier event.  We race 2 runs in a day with the best run counting towards your final result.  I still wasn’t feeling great in the morning so I forfeited my first run choosing only to race my second run.  It was good enough to qualify for the top 20 semi final as I placed a nice 13th out of 47 women’s racers.

By Sunday I was feeling better and qualified for the one run final.  I placed a very respectable 7th place overall.  I’m happy to have a top 10 finish at a well attended international race.  It looks like my training is paying off….I just need to keep my mouth closed in the waves!


Monday, November 15, 2010

PETER DOUCET - Roller Sports

This past October, Roller Sports Canada sent a team to the World Roller Speed Skating Championships which were held in Colombia. The team featured skaters from Calgary. This is unusual in itself because past teams were mostly made up of skaters from the East. The skaters raced with incredibly fast and well trained & experienced skaters from across the globe. Although the Canadian skaters weren't near the top of the rankings, their times have improved. I believe their improved performance & times is a testament to improving quality & knowledge of coaching, skaters gaining more racing experience, and strong commitment from the skaters themselves.

With inline & roller speed skating in deep infancy here in Canada, the plan is to build on these better results, share strong coaching practices, develop officials, and work with Roller Sports Canada to continue to pioneer and build the sport. 

In looking at the 2011 Pan American Games, Canada will field a team of three skaters at the Pan American Championships, which take place this March in Argentina. Jade Pauley, Morgane Echardour, and I aim at placing Canada in the top-10. Doing so will qualify Canada for the Pan American Games. The three of us are reasonably competitive racers- we're in good shape, our technique is strong, and we're tactically smart. We'll be racing against much more experienced skaters than us- athletes who are used to racing in larger packs (groups) at higher speeds.

To prepare for the Pan American Championships, we're skating at an indoor roller speed skating club in Mississauga- the Scooter's Indoor Speed Club. We're cross training by short track speed skating, running, doing weights, and cycling. We need to overcome the lack of skating on specific skating tracks- 200-meter banked tracks- by making sure we have a quality training program. Our coach from Dundas, near Hamilton, is helping us with with our training program.

2011 may end up being a very expensive year; with the possibility of racing at the Pan American Championships in Argentina, the World Championships in Korea, and the Pan American Games in Mexico, we're looking at upwards of $15,000 just for these three events! Roller Sport Canada may offer some funding and we'll try to fund-raise through our club in Toronto- preparing and then actually going to these events is why support from CAN Fund is incredibly helpful. 

I've had a number of challenges to overcome this year. My training has been affected by my commitment to a sick family member. Despite severe time restraints this past season, things have gone fairly well with racing. I won the NROC- North America's racing series. Funding from CAN Fund was instrumental in helping me win this series because I was able to attend three key races three weekends in a row- one in Chantilly, Virginia, one in Brooklyn, New York, and the other in Duluth, Minnesota- earning enough points to win the race series.

Because skaters in Canada receive minimal funding and have very limited sponsorship opportunities, athletes have to balance full-time work with school, training, and racing. In that sense, roller & inline speed skating is a true amateur sport in Canada. With all the races I competed in and won in 2010, I came in with $350 in prize money. Doing the math, I competed in some 15-20 races in 2010, with competitions easily costing $200-$400 per weekend. Add to the cost of competitions the cost of equipment, nutrition, club fees, travel; this equals a huge gratitude for support from CAN Fund. 

Hopefully the lac

Always be well,

Peter Doucet, OCT
~Fast Online & On Skates~

Thursday, November 11, 2010

KARA ZAKRZEWSKI - Beach Volleyball

The trip to Chennai, India has been amazing so far!  The people are very hospital, according to Julie, the food is very good (I opted to bring my own food, even though I really like Indian food, since my stomach sometimes acts up on the road), and the culture is so present. Most places I’ve visited in the world have become so inundated with American culture that the true cultural integrity is lost.  This is not the case with what I’ve seen in Chennai so far.  Sure there are some American stores - on the way home the other evening I saw a big Levis, Nike and Puma store on Chennai’s version of Yonge street - but the essence of India is present everywhere.  I really appreciate that.
 And because of this adherence to culture and to Indian ways of being, some things seem so foreign to me having been raised in a complete western, urban experience.  My first shock came when leaving the airport, and seeing so many people (I feel like I keep saying that phrase ‘There are so many people’ because there are - always and everywhere!) dressed, in general, so differently than we would dress and using so many different modes of transportation - from the van to the car to the vintage Rolls Royce to the tuck-tuck to the bike.  We were escorted by the tournament welcoming committee to a taxi which was to take the 2 of us (and a ridiculous amount of luggage given I was going to be doing my own cooking) to our hotel.  
 Let’s just say that arriving in India at night and taking a taxi driven by what I was sure was a depth-perception challenged driver, wasn’t all that bad, given that we’ve driven in taxis all around the world, some place which I swear don’t observe the traditional rules of the road (or at least the westernized version).  Driving off the main lit highways onto sketchy backstreets I must admit was scary.  But, we made it to our nice Savera hotel and I was in bed by 2am after a 10 or so hour flight from Brussels.  Needless to say, sleeping was easy that night, at least for me.  Julie chose to take a shower and all she could smell was the stinky shower water as she went to bed.
The next morning we awoke to a beautiful day in which we didn’t do very much.  We slept in past breakfast, but that was ok since I had brought oatmeal and my own hot plate!  We then got some inexpensive massages, to work out all the kinks of flying.  Finally, we headed over to the site after the heat of the day with our new friends and training partners from Belgium. That’s where the 2nd culture shock really set in.  We pulled up to the beach and saw a fenced in area which we assumed was the beach site (we were correct).  The sight that lay before me when I walked up the rickety wooden steps and down the ramp into the site will never be forgotten.  I’m sure I mutter some sort of expletive of astonishment (hopefully not to loud or not to vulgar) since I was in shock with what I saw.  Take a look at the top of this blog and you’ll get a good idea, but nothing is quite the same as seeing a grandstand made completely of sticks, skinny tree trunks and planks of food in person.  Really, it was a work of art, but so shocking for me to see when I’m used to metal grandstands that appear to have much more structural integrity.
I asked the tournament organizer how long it took, to which he immediately replied ‘They are safe!’.  It wasn’t really what I asked, but given the sensitivity around what was happening up north in New Dehli with the commonwealth games site, I could understand his quick reply.  Again I asked, “How long did it take to build them - they’re beautiful?” to which he answered 1 week.  Wow, a week to put together grandstands from scratch!  So amazing.  Not sure if I trust them still, but boy can I appreciate them.  The rest of the site was different as well: instead of traditional tents for the players/media/officials etc. area, instead they used pieces of sheet metal attached to wood frames (they have since covered the metal with a blue fabric which makes it look much more appropriate or something).   The whole site was then squared off by the same sheet metal in the form of a fence, then painted a turquoise colour, which consequently didn’t take too well to the sheet metal such that all of our balls have blue stains from coming into contact with the walls.
One of the amazing cultural experiences thus far has been taking part in an Indian fashion show, on center court on Sunday evening.  There were about 1000 people or so in the stands, watching the Bollywood dancer performances, professional fashion show and us, the beach volleyball players turned Indian fashion models. This morning they selected some athletes to be measured for saris, and by this evening they had them all finished in time for the show.  It was so much fun to get our hair and make-up done, and to have someone dress us in intricate sari fashions.  It’s amazing what they can do with one piece of beautiful fabric. There seems to be an infinite number of ways you can wear a sari!  All the women looked so beautiful, and the men looked so handsome.  Then we got to show it off to our adoring fans - ha!  Man did they cheer for us . . . it was quite a rush - I was too shy to ham it up more!!!
I mentioned above that it can smell pretty bad here, and it was actually the smell of my room that made it hard for me to sleep last night.  I was convinced that what Julie smelled the first night was not the remnants of stinky water on her body, but instead the old mattresses on which we were sleeping. Every time I turned over I seemed to smell it more. I was so convinced that I even asked the front desk if we could switch mattresses.  Tonight, before going to bed, I was insistent on finding the smell . .. I even risked my nose by smelling the mattress!  But, it didn’t smell . . . maybe they changed the mattress afterall, I thought (things are a bit slower here to get accomplished I find).  Then I smelled it again - where was it coming from?  I searched around with my noses, and found some shorts I wore the first day . . don’t know what I sat in or did with them but they STANK!!!  So it wasn’t the mattress afterall, but my shorts . .quite embarassing. 
Training has been great.  Not as hot as I expected, but definitely humid. I sweat a lot.  Thank goodness for my eload and my UV water purifier.  The sand very shallow, but I’m hopeful that the organizer will rectify that before play begins on Tuesday.  I’m super excited to play under the lights, as the games will be played from 2pm til midnight - I don’t ever think I’ve played that late!    
I’ll do my best to keep updating this site as the week progresses, as I’m sure that many of you are as intrigued by India and the tournament here as we are.  We’re so happy to have all of you sharing in this experience with us!!


Perth International Regatta

We've finally arrived in Fremantle to get ready to the Perth International Regatta, and check out the venue for the 2011 ISAF worlds next December. We may have to wait a few days for the sunshine and the famous Fremantle 'Doctor' to come for a visit, but we have our boats out of the container and are able to sail everyday.

The conditions here are rough. The water off the coast is quite shallow, so the waves get steep very quickly. Today there was moderate on shore wind, but we came close to pitchpoleing the boat several times.

There are about thirty 49ers here training. While this fleet is much smaller than the fleets we raced with in Europe, all the best teams are here, and I'm sure it will be close racing for the podium next week.

With this update I would like to give a huge thank you to the Canadian Athletes Now Fund. This is the end of the sailing season, and it is very likely that without help from the Fund and the companies that keep it going we'd be stuck going to the gym and waiting for warmer weather back in Toronto and Vancouver.

I hope will have more to write about Fremantle over the next three weeks. The racing will start on November 16th and we'll keep training and getting used to the conditions here for for a week after the event.    Further updates and photos will go up at www.sail49er.ca

Hope to see you on the water in Miami.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Royal Winter Fair and then some

 Hi there everybody.

I have just arrived back in Virginia after spending the weekend in Toronto attending Opening Weekend at the Royal Winter Fair. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Indoor Eventing competition by the event organizers, and I was very excited to attend.

I have never spent any time in Toronto, being that I’m from Western Canada, and the only traveling I have ever really done has been in relation to horse showing. Thankfully, my horse showing took me there, and I am looking forward to the chance to go back! Toronto is very beautiful, with lots of old buildings set into what is obviously a thriving and developing city.

The fair itself was tons of fun. I spent time at the EcoGold, Omega Alpha, and Equine Canada booths doing autograph signings ( which was super cool ) and also enjoyed going through the rest of the trade fair. (There should be some exciting news related to my adventures in the trade fair coming soon. Keep an eye out!!!! )
Another highlight was watching some of the other competitions, especially the Grand Prix Showjumping. Obviously, though, my favorite part of the weekend was participating in the Indoor Eventing. The little mare I had on loan for the weekend was a little greener than what the competition required, but she tried really hard, and all things considered I was happy with how it went. I learned a lot about catch riding, riding in interesting atmospheres, and just sort of going with what you have and making it work. Hopefully the mare and her owner will have gained from it as well.

 So, now that I’m back to Virginia, I’m just getting Smarts, Kojo and Spike ready for the Horse Trials at Kelly’s Ford this weekend in Remington, VA. ( Near Culpeper, I’m told) They have been very good lately, with Smarts and Kojo taking turns winning competitions. Kojo won the dressage at Sandstone Farms Combined Test with a score in the mid 20s, but then picked up a stop at a TERRIFYING yellow quarter round in the showjumping, which just helped his friend Smartie Pants move into the lead on a dressage in the 30-31 range. Smartie of course jumped around like a real pro to keep the lead. Spike was adorable in the beginner novice, scoring 30 and picking up only one rail in the showjumping. He has learned where his feet are, but had a momentary mishap after cantering past the in gate and losing a bit of momentum. Will Coulter did 2 training level dressage tests, which were his first 2 trips in the ring in almost 2 years. He was great, kept his focus, and got a 28 on one test and a 30 on the other. I can’t wait to see the scores once he is more relaxed in a show atmosphere.

 Smarts and Kojo went off the the Short Course Horse Trials at Loch Moy Farms on Halloween, and they were superstars. Kojo won the dressage on a 27, and tackled the short course (2 showjumps and then 11 xc obstacles, including ditch, bank and water) with more bravery than I expected of him. He can be very spooky, but he was totally committed the last couple steps before each obstacle. Good boy :) Smartie was very good, on a 30, and a wonderful jumping round. I can’t wait until that boy matures enough to score well in the Training level dressage. His jumping ability is far and above the novice level, but he’s picking up some great experience and hopefully will be very confident by the time he gets to upgrade.

So, for now, just getting back in the groove at work, and getting super excited about the weekend!! Thanks for reading, look for the results on Monday.


BENOIT HUOT - Paralympic Swimming

Hey, I hope everyone is having a good day. I had a couple weeks off from training after Commonwealth Games and it was good to spend some time with my friends and family. I am now back in the weight room and back in the pool as well. We are going to Florida for a training camp next week to get ready for the upcoming events. I will be competing at the CAN AM championship in Toronto in December. It's going to be a good event since my main competitor from Brasil will be racing there as well. Thank you for all the support and I will get back to you shortly.

Have a good week!




I can't believe it's already been two months since I returned home from my World Championships - a time that has just flown by. Immediately following the Worlds, I took some time off the board, yet continued with my physical training, but more in a fun way. I participated in the GranFondo, a 120km bike race from downtown Vancouver to Whistler. It was great fun and a bit of a personal challenge as I'd never biked that far before, nor had I ever biked alongside 4000+ other bikers or tackled over 2500m of vertical throughout a ride. I finished in just under 5 hours and felt like a million bucks after. Can't wait to do it again next year. 

The end of Worlds also was the end of the season for me and thus it was review time. Analyze this, debrief that, conference calls/meetings with all of my team making sure we are on the right track and then of course - the planning for the year to come based on the year analysis, taking my goals and the objectives of the year and periodizing them appropriately etc. I had a mini-camp in Victoria with my physiologist and bio-mechanic and Erik Stibbe the new CYA coach/manager in Vancouver to do some on water testing/analysing of my technique and had to do my fitness test :))) All this, plus training both at the gym and on the water, organizing the immediate fall/winter training plans made for some very time consuming and mentally draining days, all which were extremely worthwhile though. Next year (2011) is the first of the Olympic qualifiers and thus I want to leave no stone unturned when it comes to performing when I need to. With that also came the need for a total and complete mental rest/recovery away from my sport to re energize and press "re-set" so I could come back fresh for training and to be able to tackle the year ahead. I found my happy place surfing the waves in the Dominican Republic. I couldn't have asked for a more amazing trip - I was surrounded by absolutely lovely people and got to surf day in and day out, go horseback riding, sightsee and experience a bit of DR culture, eat real yum food (and freshly squeezed orange juice) and play some fun Jenga! Definitely the mental break I needed. I windsurfed a few times when it was windy (but on a short board), went to spinning classes and spent at least 4 hours a day in the water surfing, all of which had me exhausted at the end of each day, a perfect cross-training holiday!

Once back at home, I got straight back into my routine - gym and sailing, and getting ready for my next training trip to Perth, Australia. Which is where I am now!!! Perth is the venue of the ISAF World Sailing Championships (OLYMPIC QUALIFIER) in December 2011, so I have come here to test the waters. Next week, from November 16-21, I will be racing in the Perth International Regatta - which will act like a test event for the Worlds next year. Up until now and until then, I have/will be training with a really solid group of girls including Bryony Shaw who won the Bronze in Beijing and Marina Alabau who has held the World #1 spot for over 2 years. Needless to say, I need to show up with my A-game every day on the water while sticking to my fitness program off water, which once again has me falling into bed at the end of each day. More news to come as things progress!

Warm greetings from Down Under!


Monday, November 1, 2010


Kananaskis Training Camp

The training Camp was 10 days filled with 28 training sessions in all kinds of weather from snow blizzards, to +20 degrees. The camp was attended by 3 CAN Fund Recipients David Ford, John Hastings, and Jessica Groeneveld.

The Camp was also a good opportunity for younger paddlers to learn about training and train along side of national team members.

 "The Camp was a combination of physical and technical work, and by the end I was physically exhausted but really happy with the Camp" ~ Jessica Groeneveld


"The training camp was pretty awesome and the coaching was excellent. Also being able to train alongside the senor national team was a cool experience."
 ~ Junior paddler, Levi Severtson, from Innisfail, Alberta.

Photo Credit: Kelly VanderBeek, Alpine Skiing, 2006 Olympian