Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team coach Alan Anderson has achieved a great deal of success in his time with the club. The team has won multiple national championships and placed All-Americans at several levels.
But there’s still one goal left to attain.
Anderson believes an athlete from the club will compete in the Olympics someday, and that racer could very well come from Gig Harbor.
One of those athletes could be Andrew Field, a 16-year-old who will compete in the Junior World Championships starting Thursday in Welland, Ontario.
Field, a canoer who attends Harbor Christian High School, got involved with the sport at an early age, and he hasn’t been able to look away since.
“A friend of mine (Kelly York, also a member of the GHCKRT) made me come down to the dock when I was 10,” Field said. “It turns out that I liked it very much.”
Field is one of 13 athletes who will make the trip to the World Championships as a part of Team USA, and seven belong to the Gig Harbor team. He will be joined by fellow canoers Zach Guay, Nick Baert, Mackenzie Sousley and Savannah Jones, as well as kayakers Natalie Griffin and Alyson Morse.
“We’ve done very well in the past at this event,” Anderson said. “And I expect we will do so again because of our training regimen. and strive to be the very best at what we do”
The training is extensive. The racers put in five days a week during the summer — twice a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and once on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The athletes also have strict dietary plans, and they’re asked to train on their own as well.
“We ask a lot of them,” Anderson said. “But we never ask for more than they can handle. We know that this sport asks a ton out of you, and that you have to be in top physical shape in order to compete with the very best. We think we do as good a job as anyone at putting these athletes into position to be at their best and to compete against the best. That’s all we can ask for, really.”
A week after the Junior World Championships will be the USA Canoe Sprint National Championships, which will take place Aug. 8-10 in Oklahoma City. A total of 34 members of the Gig Harbor squad will compete there as they look to defend their national title from a year ago.
The summer season ends with a bang, as four members of the racing team will compete in the Olympics Hope Regatta on Sept. 13-15 in Prague, Czech Republic. The race is one of the biggest of its kind in the world. Several winners have gone on to win medals at the Olympics.
The only thing missing from the club’s mantle is an Olympic racer, and Anderson thinks that may come within the next four years.
Katy Hill and Cedric Bond started with the team when they were 12, and they’re now at the Olympic Training facility in Oklahoma City to represent the country at international competitions.
“It’s the closest we’ve gotten, and it’s a great step, obviously,” Anderson said. “They are doing very well, and just being included is a great honor. Having someone from our club represent the country would mean the world to me.”
Us Junior world championships
Aug. 1-4, Welland, Ontario, Canada
Us Canoe/Kayak Championships
Aug. 8-10, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Sports Editor Chris Crawford can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_chris.