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By Emily Jackson

Last week I spent paddling a completely different type of boat, my slalom boat. I was padding at NOC hoping to qualify for the Olympic trials. The first couple days of training I was the only one there so I practiced on gates below to course to get used to my boat again. It took a couple days but with 2 training sessions a day about 3-4 hours I was starting to feel like I knew how to paddle the boat again. It was just my mother and I and my brand new puppy Rupert. She would time me if I was doing courses and made sure that I was doing the gates right. After the first 3 days my Dad arrived with his slalom boat and my mother went home for a couple days so she could come back for the race. Training with him was completely different. He would do shorter harder sessions focusing more on over all speed than making the gates right. This was good for me because you can do a gate right and still be 10 seconds slow. After 4 hard sessions with Dad it was time to race. The race was the NOC double header and the first day was the only day that mattered for getting to Olympic Trials. I had 1 good run that day and 1 not so good run. I have never done such hard off sets before and it was a struggle to make all the gates. I made all the gates but it was not pretty. I ended up still qualifying; most of the people before me were Canadian or had already qualified. Dad paddled pretty well. Only 8 seconds of the leader. That’s really good for how much he’s spent in a slalom boat the past 5 years. The next day was better for me and Dad. The off sets were still just as hard but after 2 runs on similar gates the day before, I felt more confident. I did okay on most gates but missed the one through the hole because I got side surfed. I decided to finish my run strong and just maker sure I get my gates on the second run. My second run’s raw time was about 25 seconds faster due to me wanting to go all out on my last run and I finally was getting the gates as well as I would have liked. This made a big difference over all and I finally felt good and smooth during the run. I enjoyed my training the whole week but its so much fun to do a race in slalom. There are so many different ways to do gates and I learn the most through my race runs. It was also fun to have Joel, Nick and Dane race as well. I am sad to say Nick kicked my butt but he paddled so well it shocked people that it was his first real race and I was proud! It was all my coaching (not)
Well I am back in my freestyle boat on brave wave and I am finally figuring out some moves that I have been struggling with for a while. Air Screws are closer, Clean Blunts are really close. I get a couple a day but try a million. I finally figured out that I don’t put enough energy into my paddling and muscle it through during training as much as I should. It’s definitely been changing my paddling curve a lot though!
I look forward to seeing you guys on the water. One more month of freestyle and slalom boating for another week!!
Happy Paddling!