By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator
Our next Canada Summer Games sport feature is Canoe Kayak! Head Coach Jerome Seremak and Manitoba Paddling Association Office Manager Aimee Hunt tell us what their athletes are doing to train as they head into the fall and winter seasons, and why this is a special event for many young athletes that sparks big dreams.
The Canada Summer Games
Less than a year away, these highly anticipated games are among the most unique in Canada.
“I think it’s special, because it’s kind of like a mini-Olympics. All these athletes come together and they have the opportunity to compete at an event that is really well-organized and scheduled, alongside all the volunteers and organizers who created it — it’s impressive,” said Aimee.
It’s also a testament to the skill of the athletes who will get the opportunity to represent Manitoba.
“I think Team Manitoba is special for everybody, because not everybody can go. You have to be selected and you have to make a team,” said Jerome. “That’s huge.”
Jerome said being together at a national, multi-sport event after the postponement will make it extra special in 2022.
“It’s going to be a nice, fun trip for everybody,” said Jerome.
Developing a Strong Team Toba
Over the last year, Jerome and his athletes have had to be creative in their training, like doing Zoom workouts from home, and bringing rowing and kayak machines outside the club.
“They would all be facing the river while they’re paddling on their stationary machines,” said Aimee.
As we move into the fall and winter months, Jerome said they’ll continue to work hard and use a variety of training methods, like running, skating, skiing, swimming, weight training, and using paddling machines.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to travel again, and we’ll be able to go somewhere south for training camp for a month or more, if possible. Then, back into races, and we’ll be ready for the Canada Games,” said Jerome.
For Canoe Kayak athletes, the preparation for the games has been years in the making, and the process to develop Team Manitoba at this stage is continuing with existing training schedules.
“We have long term athlete development,” said Jerome. “Our team trains every day for the next four years toward the Canada Games. So, they’re already focused. And as they develop their abilities, the focus will change with each athlete, too.”
Along with that, comes maintaining a centered mental perspective, too.
“Jerome has a saying, ‘Look at all races as more training’. I think it’s a really good point of view,” said Aimee. “Canada Summer Games is a big race, but also, to treat it as just another training day. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter if you win, but having that mindset, gives the athlete the freedom to place wherever they’re going to place,” said Aimee.
She adds that, thinking this way, eventually you’ll see progress and advance to the next heat or to a final, and maybe place, too.
“When that does actually happen, and if it happens to happen at an event like Canada Summer Games, then it’s a beautiful moment for that athlete and for all the people who have supported them and helped them along the way. I think it’s a pretty cool opportunity that athletes have,” said Aimee.
The Games are a chance for athletes to get a taste of a large scale, multi-sport event. They get to represent their home province, all while competing and showcasing their hard work in an exhilarating atmosphere.
Jerome hopes the experience will spark their passion to take it to the next level.
“I hope they dream bigger. I hope they dream potentially national team, Pan Am Games, Olympic Games – something that they would like to be a part of, not just once in their lives, but maybe more,” said Jerome.