OKC RIVERSPORT Athletes Qualify for Senior World Cups, Under 23 & Junior World Championships
Oklahoma City – May 1 Oklahoma City’s Olympic hopefuls Kaitlyn McElroy and Maggie Hogan took another step forward on the road to Rio as they qualified to race in two international World Cup events next month. The duo will race in the two person kayak 200-meter and 500-meter events at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup events to be held respectively in Racice, Czech Republic and Szeged, Hungary.
“They are aiming to qualify the USA for the women’s K2 in the 2016 Games in Rio,” said Shaun Caven, OKC RIVERSPORT canoe/kayak director and head coach. “Their performance at this year’s world cup events will be an important indicator as they test their speed against the top teams in the world. It’s exciting because they qualified here, on the Oklahoma River, during the Sprint Team Trials held last weekend.”
The pair were among nearly a dozen Oklahoma City athletes who qualified to represent the United States in international competition during the USA Canoe/Kayak 2014 Sprint Team Trials, held on the Oklahoma River, April 25-26.
“To qualify 11 athletes at every level possible for international competition is a good indication of the success of our canoe/kayak programs,” said Caven. “From this base we’re looking forward to growing the depth of our program as more and more kids take up the sport here in OKC.”
At just 14 years old, OKC’s Bria Cornforth has qualified for the 2014 Olympic Hopes Regatta in Piestany, Slovakia in September. Cornforth, who began kayaking on the Oklahoma River at the age of seven, will race top athletes from around the world in the under 15 age bracket.
Two OKC RIVERSPORT Junior Canoe/Kayak athletes have qualified for the 2014 ICF Junior World Championships, also in Szeged, Hungary in July. Returning for his second junior world’s team, Jones, Oklahoma native Dylan Puckett will compete in the men’s single kayak 1,000-meter event. Puckett will team up with OKC’s Josh Turner of Mustang, Oklahoma, to race the men’s two-person kayak 200-meter event.
Oklahoma City’s Austin Schwinn and Jared McArthur qualified to race the men’s two-person kayak 200-meter event at the 2014 Under 23 World Championships in Szeged, Hungary in July. On the women’s side, OKC’s Mia Overton and Natalie Griffin also qualified in the women’s two-person 500-meter event, and Katy Hill qualified in the women’s single kayak 200-meter event. Schwinn, McArthur, Overton and Griffin are also part of the Oklahoma City University Canoe/Kayak Team. Hill is an alumna of OCU, as is senior team competitor McElroy.
“We’re extremely proud to of all of our athletes and are encouraged to see the local talent pool grow so quickly,” said Mike Knopp, Executive Director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation. “When we began our junior canoe/kayak program and the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center, we knew in time we’d see Oklahomans making strides towards the Olympic podium. To have three young athletes from Oklahoma represent the USA at international competition this year is so gratifying to everyone who’s believed in and supported the development of the Boathouse District and the Oklahoma River. I invite everyone to join me in wishing these athletes the best of luck.”
Learn more about the opportunities to get involved in the OKC RIVERSPORT Canoe/Kayak program online.
About the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation
The OKC Boathouse Foundation promotes the use and development of the Oklahoma River as a world-class urban aquatic venue and provides access to rowing, kayaking and fitness programs for people of all ages and abilities. OKCBF programs pursue the highest goals of sports and embrace the principles of the Olympic spirit, which inspire athletes to work toward personal excellence, embrace the power of teamwork, and practice respect for all people and the environment. To learn more or get involved, call (405) 552-4040 or visit boathousedistrict.org.
A project of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation