Youth from the Nelson Kayak and Canoe Club had a chance to try out some racing boats at BC Summer Games camp on Kootenay Lake in Nelson on Saturday and Sunday.

Nelson Kayak and Canoe Club prepare for BC Summer Games

Camp gave paddlers a chance to get used to the racing boats they'll use at the Games.

The first time Tenne Andersen competed in a kayak event at BC Summer Games, she’d never been in a racing boat before.

“We only have the kayaks you sit on top of,” said the 14-year-old who trains twice per week with the Nelson Kayak and Canoe Club. “I wasn’t used to the little skinny ones.”

That didn’t stop her from bringing home a bronze medal in her slalom event in 2010. And she’s looking forward to improving on her record when she goes to this year’s Games in Surrey, July 19 to 22.

This past weekend, Anderson was out on Kootenay Lake in Nelson training with a dozen fellow club members at BC Games Camp.

Two Vancouver-based coached from CanoeKayak BC hosted the camp, bringing with them enough racing boats for every participant to try out.

“For many of the kids, it’s their first introduction to racing,” said camp co-ordinator Mark Klevinas, noting only three of the 13 participants had ever been to BC Games before.

He ran the group through drills and balance exercises, teaching them how changing their stroke and posture can improve their speed in the boat.

“The way they move in these boats is totally different from what they’re used to,” he said.

Nelson assistant coach Kevin Milde said the local paddling community isn’t very competitive.

“Most of us just do it for the fun of it,” he said, noting the competitive element of BC Games doesn’t necessarily make it any less fun. “We basically hang out on a beach and once in awhile we race.”

BC Games is a multi-sport competition for athletes the age of 18. It is held every other year in different cities across BC.

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