There were times this summer when it looked as though Richard Dalton wouldn’t make it to the world sprint canoe-kayak championships.
The Halifax native didn’t qualify for the spring World Cup tour and rattled off six consecutive second-place finishes at national team selection trials. It wasn’t until the final set of trials last month in Montreal that Dalton finally earned his spot by winning the C-1 200 metres and the C-4 500.
Dalton knew coming in he was going to be in a dogfight for a spot, having fallen short of the Beijing Olympics last summer after competing at the Athens Games in 2004.
“The margin for being on the Canadian team and on the outside looking in is so small, there’s no guarantee that any given year you’ll race for Canada,” said Dalton. “To actually clinch a spot and race at home is a huge thrill for me.”
Dalton, who turns 30 later this month, is one of Nova Scotia’s senior-most paddlers. He will race in the C-1 200, C-4 1,000 and in the canoe relay on Lake Banook tomorrow.
“Ever since (qualifying), my training’s been awesome,” he said. “I’m feeling great about my chances.”
A record 11 Nova Scotians — including two in the demonstration discipline of women’s canoe — will compete at worlds. They are expecting a large, loud contingent of local support.
“It’s really nice to be here with the team and we all have a lot of support here,” said Dartmouth’s Una Lounder, who is competing in the K-2 500. “It’s nice to know there are going to be a lot of familiar faces in the crowd cheering for us.”