James Lavallee

James Lavallee - Paddling

TEAM:  Team Manitoba
HOMETOWN: Winnipeg

I love the outdoors and outdoor activities (hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, etc. it is all great). I am very proud to be from Winnipeg and the prairies.
I am a University of Manitoba student. I hope to graduate with a degree in Environmental Science and/or Ecology. I attend classes in the fall semester and train the rest of the year.

I have been kayaking for nine years and I am a member of the Canadian National Canoe/Kayak Team. I have represented Canada twice at the World Junior Canoe / Kayak Championships.
I am a proud Metis. I have dyslexia and ADHD.

How did you get involved in your sport?

I really enjoy water and being outside, but I really don’t like the not-breathing-all-the-time, face-under-water-thing, which means swimming was out. I was introduced to kayaking when my family would go to Fort Whyte to take advantage of their kayaking program. At the time I didn't know there was a Canoe Club in Winnipeg until my mom was talking to a friend of hers (Cara Chandler) about our kayaking adventures. Cara happened to know the president of the Manitoba Paddling Association (Robin McClure). The rest is history, I was hooked.

Describe a typical week in your life as you prepare for the 2017 Canada Summer Games.

At the most basic level a typical week for me consists of a lot of training, eating and sleeping but the details are always changing. When in Winnipeg, I will train twice a day Monday through Thursday and once on Friday and Saturday.  In the summer, I will be on the Red River every day unless I am away for competition or training camps. In the winter, I lift weights and work on cardio (paddling machines, running, swimming and soccer).  As I am writing this (mid-April), I am training in Wałcz, Poland where I have one week left of my three month training camp.  Just a week ago, I was in Sabaudia, Italy training with top sprint kayak athletes from Germany and Poland. Then by the time this profile is out, I will be on the water in Montréal prepping for the Canadian National Team Trials. My results in Montreal will determine where and when I train and compete through the rest of the summer.

Who has had the greatest influence on your athletic career and why?

The person who has had the greatest influence on my athletic career is my coach Jerome Seremak.  He pushes us to be our best.  Training sessions are tough, but he makes them fun with his never ending jokes and crazy ideas. He has taught me a lot about the sport and has shown me that there is more than one way to become the best.  We have a great team atmosphere at our Club so I would say all of my teammates have helped me a lot as well.

What is your favourite athletic memory to date?

My best/most memorable performance was in 2015 when I qualified for the Junior World Championships in Montreal. I remember Paddling up to the line in a state of hyper-focus. This was a 200m event and I knew what was needed to win, more importantly I knew what was on the line. I was feeling confident, calm and ready to take on my competitors. The start gates dropped and as anticipated I was slightly behind off the start. Then, in what felt like hours but was merely seconds, I was neck and neck with the lead boat. With less than 75m to go I made my final push, vision blurred, body aching I crossed the finish line first. 0.7s in front of second place! This was a huge success with smiles, hugs and handshakes all around. Truly a memorable moment and at the time was a new personal best for me, a time I would smash the following year.

Do you have any pre-competition routines?

I like take in some simple sugars so I usually have some hard candy before I hit the water.

What is the best advice you have ever received as an athlete?

The advice I like best is “DYB” meaning, “Do Your Best”. Apparently this comes from the Boy Scouts but my grandpa frequently used it to the point that everyone in my family says it now. It is so simple but so effective, just Do Your Best.  I also like another variation on DYB  ....“do your best and screw the rest” which to me means do your best and the rest won’t matter. This is helpful advice for anyone who worries about the next step or life after sport.

What is your favourite pump up song?

I can’t say I have one because music is not normally part of my warm up routine. But if I need a boost I will listen to A Tribe Called Red, Nirvana, Guns and Roses or some sort of Classic rock.

What are your goals for the upcoming 2017 Canada Summer Games?

Win K-1 (single kayak) 200m and 500m and medal in a doubles event (K-2).

What are your future aspirations?

Short term I would like to race at this year's Senior and U23 World Championships. Long term I would like to see myself at the Tokyo Olympics.



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