(photo by Brian Ludwar)
By Brian Scrivener
On the last day of competition at Shumway Lake, Saskatchewan all but swept the decks in kayak, winning all but one of the gold medal finals. The canoeists shared the wealth, with the golds being distributed among all four provinces.
In both the men’s and women’s K1 200m events, Saskatchewan took silver, too. In women’s, Rory Gowda-Sookochoff edged her teammate Daniella Zemlak by 4/10ths of a second in 48.7 seconds, while Mike Kowaluk beat his teammate Cooper Reis by the same margin in 40.4. Alberta’s Robyn Sutherland took the women’s bronze, and B.C.’s David Nykl the men’s.
In the women’s K1 2000m, B.C.’s Rebecca Alley spoiled Saskatchewan’s sweep, finishing in 9:29.8 ahead of Saskatchewan’s Olivia Dyck, while Alberta’s Sutherland landed her second consecutive bronze. In the men’s K1 2000m, Mike Kowaluk again triumphed (8:53.3), while B.C.’s Nykl added a silver to his bronze, and Manitoba’s Zane Clark took bronze.
In the women’s K2 200m final, Saskatchewan’s Dyck and Gowda won the gold convincingly in 8:50.2 over B.C.’s Rebecca Alley and Tessa Nagai, with Alberta’s Stephanie Koenig and Kirsten Grant in third. In the men’s K2 200m, Saskatchewan’s Simon Fense and Cooper Reis paddled to gold in 7:49.1 ahead of B.C.’s David Nykl and Del Muench in second place and Alberta’s Alex Wyma and Kevin Wickens in third.
Saskatchewan’s men’s and women’s K4 teams won gold in the 200m events, while B.C. and Alberta traded places, with Alberta taking the silver in the women’s race and B.C. in the men’s.
Such was Saskatchewan’s dominance on the day that they even won gold in the mixed War Canoe race.
In the day’s first canoeing events, Manitoba won gold in both men’s and women’s C1 2000m. Tom Sherwin (9:48.7) breezed easily to a 10-second victory over three Alberta paddlers in second through fourth: Kevin Symington, Dylan Land and Brendan Fowler. Kara Himmelt took gold by a similar margin over Alberta’s Kelsey Keeping-Salsman and Saskatchewan’s Gina Soparlo.
Keeping-Salsman came right back to win gold in C1 200m over Saskatchewan’s Jenna Berenbaum. Local paddler Brook McLean of Kamloops won bronze. Brendan Fowler of Alberta (45.8) took a close C1 200m final, with less than 1 second separating him from Manitoba’s Sherwin in second and Kamloops’ Keiffer Johnson in third.
In C2 2000m, Saskatchewan’s Amy Soparlo paired with Jenna Berenbaum for gold (10:51.8) over Manitoba’s Kara Hummelt and Nadya Crossman and B.C.’s Elizabeth Kraft and Natasha Cross. On the men’s side, Manitoba’s Tom Sherwin and Mohamed Crossman-Serb (8:57.2) finished with a 5-second margin over Alberta’s silver medallists Symington and Fowler, with B.C.’s Zachary Morgan and Keiffer Johnson taking bronze.
In the women’s C4 200m final, the B.C. team won going away in 54.4 seconds over Saskatchewan in second and Alberta in third. The men’s race was much closer, with Saskatchewan nipping Alberta by a half-second with Manitoba in third.
By the end of the day, Saskatchewan had carried off a total of 10 gold medals between the kayak and canoeing events, proving themselves to be the champions of Shumway.