If kayaks had bumper stickers, a fitting one for Canada’s women’s K-4 500-metre crew would be “baby on board.”
“I’m the only non-Olympic’er in the boat — I guess I’m the baby,” joked Lake Echo’s Genevieve Orton on Thursday, after her crew qualified for Saturday’s final at the world sprint canoe-kayak championships on Lake Banook.
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Not that the 25-year-old national-team rookie is complaining about being teamed with two-time Olympian Mylanie Barre and Beijing Olympians Kristin Gauthier and Emilie Fournel. Since the crew formed in the spring, it has won two silver medals at World Cup events and is gunning for more this weekend.
Orton’s veteran teammates have been a calming influence thanks to their heavy international experience.
“When we get to competitions, I’m sort of wide-eyed and just happy to be there,” Orton said. “They really help keep me grounded and focused on the job at hand.”
That came into play on Thursday, when Orton admitted to being nervous as she approached the starting gate for the K-4 500 heat. It was her first world championship race and she had a large contingent of family and friends in the crowd.
But the crew placed third in their heat and fifth overall in 1:40.909, clinching a direct berth in Saturday’s final.
Middle Sackville’s Jillian D’Alessio and her K-2 1,000 partner Victoria Tuttle were the only other Canadian crew to clinch a berth in a final after Thursday’s heats.
The K-4 team has been pegged as one of Canada’s medal hopefuls at the event. Orton expects them to be contention— if they can work out some of the kinks. They felt they had a strong start but want to maintain a better pace throughout.
“I would (rate the heat) a nine out of 10,” Orton said. “We definitely have something else to put in, but we’re going to go over and sort that out and be ready for Saturday.”
World sprint canoe-kayak championships at Lake Banook
Semifinals, 9 to 11:40 a.m. and 2:30 to 4:15 p.m.
Finals, 8:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.
Finals, 8:30 a.m. to 1:50 p.m.
Closing ceremonies, 4 p.m.
Full schedule online at www.canoe09.ca