US National Whitewater Slalom Championships
2005 Whitewater Slalom US National Champions Crowned On The Kern River
Bethesda Center of Excellence
Brett Heyl (Bethesda, Md.) was not going to be denied the national championship this year. After coming up second for the last few years, Heyl decided he’d had enough of that. He outpaddled his competition on Sunday at the Whitewater Slalom US National Championships, winning by nearly half a second.
“It feels great,” said Heyl. “I’m happy to finally win this one. Now the rest of the team and I can focus on the Slalom Worlds (Championships).” Heyl and six other US Team members will travel to Penrith, Australia for the ICF Slalom World Championships happening at the end of September.
Finishing second to Heyl was Scott Parsons (Bethesda, Md.), who finished sixth in last year’s Athens Olympics. Coming in third was Eric Giddens (San Diego, Calif.) who paddled for the local Kernville club. Last year’s national champion in the men’s kayak, Scott Mann (Bryson City, N.C.) did not compete as he chose to stay home and train for the Worlds.
Jamie Tidmore (Bryson City, N.C.) was all smiles after winning the women’s kayak class. Tidmore paddled very strongly, and won by nearly twenty seconds over second place Paris Robinson (Atlanta, Ga.) Zuzanna Vanha (Dillsboro, N.C.), fresh off her victory Saturday at the Pan American Championships, had a couple costly mistakes on Sunday and finished third.
In the men’s canoe, Ryan Bahn (Bethesda, Md.) put down two amazing runs to win in dramatic style. Bahn injured his shoulder last summer while paddling, and had been out for months while his shoulder healed. However, he came back in style this year, qualifying for the US Team and winning the National Championship on Sunday. Jeff Larimer (Marietta, Ga.) and Erik Amason (Arlington, Va.) finished second and third, respectively.
The men’s double canoe class was hotly contested on Sunday, and the boat of Mark Poindexter (Austin, Texas) and Ben Kvanli (San Marcos, Texas) pulled out the win over Chris Wiegand (Lafayette, Colo.) and Nic Borst (Boulder, Colo.) Finishing third in the class were the Soileau brothers Chris and Trevor (Washington, D.C. area).
Although they are important, the individual medals are not the only awards given at the US Nationals. There is also the Club “Club” Trophy, which is given to the US Club amassing the most points in Nationals competition. This year the top club honor went to the Bethesda Center of Excellence (Bethesda, Md.). Paddling for BCE were the above listed medalists Heyl, Parsons, Bahn, Amason and the Soileau brothers.