Genevieve Orton has never raced at the world championships before, let alone in her own
backyard.

 

So you can imagine the excitement on Lake Banook this weekend for Orton — and dozens of other Nova Scotians in similar positions — as world qualifying hits a crescendo with the national sprint canoe-kayak selection trials.

 

The Lake Echo native is enjoying a breakthrough season, capturing two silver medals with Canada’s K-4 500-metre crew at World Cup events in Europe in the spring.

 

Another strong weekend on the water could get Orton to worlds, which are Aug. 13 to 16 on Lake Banook.

 

“I couldn’t have asked for more — it’s been awesome,” said Orton, who had never been on an international podium as a senior. “It was really just getting into that (K-4) boat and proving I’m good at it. It was a huge, huge jump for me.”

The trials serve as a warmup for worlds, but there is also plenty at stake.

A number of spots will be finalized by the end of the weekend, while the remainder will be determined at the final trials in Montreal from July 17 to 19.

Orton and her peers want to use the weekend to not only qualify for worlds, but to build momentum for them.

“We’re looking to make sure everyone has a good time here and set a bar high to let everyone know we’re going to be a force at the worlds — especially Nova Scotians,” Orton said.

Orton’s crew features Kia Byers and Olympians Kristin Gauthier and Emilie Fournel. Although they were only put in the same boat this spring, they’ve been an instant hit.

“We didn’t know what to expect when we went to Europe, but things turned out far better than we thought they would,” said the 25-year-old Dartmouth resident. “We showed we do have potential and hopefully we can keep it going.”