Phare gains experience at Canada Summer Games 

Paddler learned plenty from older competitors

click to enlarge PHOTO BY KEVIN BOGETTI-SMITH - ON THE RED Quinn Phare, left, and Alexander Demishkevich compete at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.
  • Photo by Kevin Bogetti-Smith
  • ON THE RED Quinn Phare, left, and Alexander Demishkevich compete at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg.

Pemberton paddler Quinn Phare enjoyed his first Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg last week.

And while they were his first, if he continues his trajectory they won't be his last.

As one of the youngest competitors in the canoe events, Phare will still be eligible to compete in the 2021 Games when they head to Ontario's Niagara region.

For now, though, the 16-year-old is soaking in the experience he gained while competing against athletes four and five years older.

"It was interesting because I didn't really go in thinking I was going to medal. I expected to come bottom of the pack, so I just tried to take it as a learning experience," he said.

Phare entered the Games fairly recently, taking up steering responsibilities and gradually felt more comfortable as the week progressed.

"I got to learn how to steer through the wash of the other boats," he said. "It was a huge learning experience for me (actually) steering in a race since I'd just done it at practices."

Phare and partner Alexander Demishkevich of Kamloops started the week with a fifth-place showing in the 1,000-metre race on Aug. 7 before slipping to sixth in the 500-metre event on Aug. 8. With Noah Said and Omar Said, the pair took fifth in the four-man 1000-m race while Phare also took a fifth-place finish with the Saids and Ydris Hunter in the 200-m four-man event. Both four-man races, on Aug. 10, wrapped Phare's week.

Phare said the highlight of his week was the 200-m since there's plenty of power and a short distance, so it's easy to get the adrenaline flowing.

"I've always really liked that race because it's an extremely high-intensity race," he said. "You're trying to get your stroke rate up as high as possible and trying to go all out for the entire race, but it's not like a singles race where you're doing it just by yourself."

While he's used to training on Pemberton's One Mile Lake, Winnipeg's Red River provided a bit of a different feel, though not necessarily for the worse.

"There was a bit of a current, but pretty much the only way that it affected us was it made our times faster. It didn't affect us negatively," Phare explained.

Though the paddlers' focus was primarily on their own events, Phare said the team got the chance to cheer on their fellow West Coasters on the volleyball court when the B.C. girls took on Nova Scotia, while Phare got to enjoy the closing ceremonies, headlined by country singer Brett Kissel, as well.

Next up for Phare will be the Canadian Sprint CanoeKayak Championships in Welland, Ont. from Aug. 22 to 27.

"I'm feeling pretty confident about it. I'll be racing with some of the guys I was racing with in Winnipeg," he said. "They're only a week apart so all of our training is pretty much done now. It's just a month of racing."

British Columbia finished the Games in second overall in the medal standings after taking 55 gold medals and 146 medals overall. Ontario was the runaway winner in both with 87 golds and 212 medals overall.


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