WINNIPEG — Each stroke splashes a smile on Nadya Crossman.
Every one sparking memories of a whirlwind year on the water.
“I couldn’t believe it for a long time,” Crossman said.
The 18-year-old competed at the Canoe Sprint World Championships in Italy this past summer. It was her first international meet as the first Manitoba woman to crack the Canadian crew.
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“It was all the Olympics level athletes,” Crossman said. “Everyone I watched as a little girl was competing right next to me. It was cool to see.”
But Crossman wasn’t the only provincial paddler to make waves this year.
“This summer was crazy,” provincial paddling coach Jerome Seremak said. “Our kids were going all over the world, racing from one weekend to another. It was very busy.”
The Manitoba Paddling Association had one of its most successful seasons ever. It’s athletes not only competed at home and abroad but also won.
“All the years of establishing our programs and facilities, this is almost like the harvest of the work,” Seremak said.
Among those grabbing gold was Maddy Mitchell. The Winnipegger won all twelve events she paddled in at the Western Canada Summer Games. Her profound podium performance set a new record for the most first place finishes at the multi-sport event.
“I’m really proud of it,” Mitchell said. “Years from now, I can look back and my name will still have that record.”
A challenge for other Manitobans to try and match.
“I look up to them a lot,” first year paddler Sandra Page said. “It’s a big inspiration for me to keep paddling and keep trying hard.”
With hopes of one day making it to the ultimate level – the Olympics.