NANAIMO – Spring officially arrived this week and local paddlers are already out on Long Lake.
The Nanaimo Canoe/Kayak Club has over 800 people who participate in summer camps and other programs, and the Sprint Youth Racing Team has 22 members who train as many as nine times a week.
Athletes competing at the next North American Indigenous games will spend some of their summer training on Long Lake and a new initiative by Canoe/Kayak BC will see the NCKC host some potential Special Olympians during the coming season.
The most significant competition is the BC Cup #3 Regatta August 10-11.
Paddlers from all across the province will be participating.
The regatta is part of a four race series with the other events happening in Burnaby, Kamloops and Maple Ridge
Competitors in the older age brackets will be going through time trials for other national level events.
In the background during the current racing season, plans are in the works for a new clubhouse.
The current building has been in place since 1988 and is shared by the Canoe/Kayak Club and the Nanaimo Rowing Club.
It's outdated and an upgrade is much needed.
That was the case even before a tree did damage to the structure during November's windstorm.
The building has some leaks but it's still able to be utilized in the short term.
The Long Lake Flatwater Training Centre Society has been put together with the goal of planning, building and maintaining a new facility.
There are some funds raised already and according to NCKC spokesperson Nancy Ford the City of Nanaimo would provide money as well.
Total costs for the new clubhouse would range anywhere from $500,000 to $1million dollars.
Ford says the City timeline would see the project done sometime before 2024, but in the meantime the society is still fundraising.
Securing private donations and grant money will be necessary steps as well.
The daily focus for the NCKC is about the athletes and for the members of the Sprint Team there's been a lot of success in the water.
Thomas Duff and Cameron Antifave are both members of Team BC who have won national medals.
Duff is a current U16 BC champion who will be racing at the national team trials in June, while Antifave is a title holder at the provincial U19 level.
Jackson Ali is a U15 BC champion with multiple medals won at the 2018 BC Summer Games in Duncan.
Both Naimh Gibbons (U13 BC Cup), and Thorbin Schroeder (U11 BC Cup) have won championships as well.
The sprint team is coached by Igor Nikitovic with the athletes in the range of nine to 21-years-old.
Much will be expected in 2019 from a group that boasts a resume of such strong results.
More information about the club and registration forms for programs and summer camps are available on the Nanaimo Canoe/Kayak Club website.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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