Pemby paddlers competing across Canada this summer 

Three make national team, one on provincial squad

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - representing bc Pemberton Canoe Association paddler Hana Ronayne was named to Team BC for the Western Canada Summer Games.
  • Photo submitted
  • representing bc Pemberton Canoe Association paddler Hana Ronayne was named to Team BC for the Western Canada Summer Games.

Pemberton is well known in this province as a hotbed of paddling.

But Wes Finck is looking to let the rest of the country know as well.

Finck will have that opportunity this August as he seeks to represent his hometown well as a member of the Canadian Junior National Dragon Boat Crew. Along with fellow Pemberton Canoe Association members Isabel Peters (also a paddler) and Bailey Thomson (steerperson), Finck will attend the 2015 IDBF World Dragon Boat Racing Championships in Welland, Ont. from Aug. 18 to 23.

"I'm really excited to represent Pemberton on the national team, especially since our team is quite well known for our performance at (the Rio Tinto) Alcan Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver," he said. "I just think it's a great opportunity for myself, and to get our team better known."

Finck was told of his acceptance on the team about a month ago.

"I'm just trying to get out on the water more, get faster on the water and become a stronger paddler," he said. "I want to give our national team a better chance of winning medals."

Looking over the roster of future teammates, Finck recognized several familiar names from the Eternal Dragon program in Vancouver, as he's met them through various training camps. However, with the Alcan festival looming this weekend from June 19 to 21, any camaraderie will be put on hold for just a few more days.

"I'll have to switch gears after that and really try to become their friend and teammate," he said. "I know we're all super determined to represent Canada well."

Several experiences — both competing on the international stage and in Welland — will be new for Finck. However, he feels his mental strength will help him adjust in time for the championships.

"In paddling, you have to be very determined and if it gets tough halfway through a race, you have to push yourself through the pain," he said. "You have to know that it's just temporary."

Peters, meanwhile, will provide leadership to the squad as one of only three who attended the worlds in Hungary two years ago.

"I just have some experience with international competition. You learn to settle your nerves before you race," she said. "I'm good at remaining calm in stressful situations."

In addition to being a rarity on the team for her experience, Peters is also unique in her abilities. She is ambidextrous and is able to play more of a rover role for the team, slotting in on whichever side she is most needed.

Like Finck, Peters has familiarity with several Vancouver athletes, as she paddled with them at last summer's BC Summer Games.

She also recognized Pemberton Canoe Association director and former Olympic medallist in canoe Hugh Fisher for his efforts helping paddling thrive in the region.

In addition to the three attending nationals, Hana Ronayne was selected to the British Columbia women's canoe team for the Western Canada Summer Games in Wood Buffalo, Alta. from Aug. 7 to 16. Oliver Esseltine and Colton Hockey were picked as alternates for the men's canoe team.


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