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Team Canada Athletes

The Rideau Canoe Club is proud to have 10 Rideau athletes representing Canada this summer of 2019 at international events and world championships. Here are profiles of each of them.

We hope knowing their stories, and their connection to the Club, reflects on your experience as an alumni or the opportunities that may lay ahead in your future as a paddler or parent.

DREW HODGES

Drew Hodges will be representing Canada at the 2019 Pan Am Games that kick off next Friday in Lima, Peru. Along with Rowan Hardy-Kavanagh, Drew is one of 2 Rideau athletes selected to represent Canada, and will be racing in the Men ‘s C1-1000m and C2-1000m events.

It’s not hard to find Drew around the Club, on the dock, or on Mooney’s Bay. Drew started his paddling career in the summer of 2008 at the relatively late age of 15. Drew had been a hockey player throughout his youth, but gave the sport of Canoe and Kayak a try that summer on the advice of his babysitters. Drew started off in the kayak, but soon switched to canoe.

Drew first made the national team in 2013, when he was selected to represent Canada at the Pan American Canoe and Kayak Championships where he finished 4th in the Men’s C1-1000m That same summer, Drew won 4 medals at the Canada Summer Games, including Gold in the Men’s C1-5000m. Drew has subsequently paddled for Canada at both the U23 and Senior World Championships, making the A Final in the C2 and C4 categories respectively.

Drew wears his purple heart on his sleeve. He is incredibly proud to paddle for the Rideau Canoe Club. Despite his international paddling opportunities, his most memorable Canoe experience came last year at the National Championships in Sherbrooke when Drew stroked the Rideau Senior Men’s War Canoe to a thrilling win over the Burloak Canoe Club - Burloak had won the race 16 consecutive years.

When not training, Drew has managed to complete his business degree at Carleton University, and hints that an MBA may be in his future.

Drew took the time to answer a few questions for our profile:

Q: You've had the opportunity to paddle internationally for Canada at major paddling events. What do you anticipate will be different representing Canada at a multi-sport event like the Pan Am Games, and what are you most looking forward to?

Drew: I am excited to compete at the Pan Am Games this summer not only to compete against some of the best paddlers, but also to be around other athletes. When I compete internationally at other events, we solely see canoe kayak athletes. This will be cool to meet other athletes and see how good they are at their respective sport.

Q: Your initial interest in paddling was to "get in shape for hockey". Your decision obviously worked out well for your paddling career. Switching this around, can you talk about how participating in multiple sports growing up, like hockey, has helped you be successful with Canoe?

Drew: Originally, I used paddling as a summer sport and then played hockey in the winter. As a kid my parents were always trying to find ways to tire me out to help make their job a little easier. Although this was a good strategy, I also feel that playing multiple sports as a kid helped me develop some other athletic skills that help in paddling. Things like balance and core strength are important in paddling and helped me make the late transition into canoeing. I played hockey a lot as a kid which also helps with cross country skiing. We have an annual hockey game against the Carleton Place Canoe Club, so my hockey background still comes in handy.

Q: What do you love about calling the Rideau Canoe Club home?

Drew: Other than the amazing facilities and the best water in Canada, the thing I love most about the Rideau Canoe Club is the people. I have met some of my best friends through the club and have met some of the best coaches I have had in my career. In 2015 when we hosted Nationals, it was motivating as an athlete to see how hard the volunteers were working to make the event happen. Competing at Nationals is also a huge moment for me, and one of the most fun competitions of the year. Last summer in Sherbrooke I was a part of the Senior men’s war canoe crew that won. This was one the highlights of my career thus far, and I will remember that moment forever.

Q: For our young paddlers just starting out, and who are doing both canoe and kayak, when is the right time to decide which to pursue? How long should you stick with both?

Drew: As an athlete who joined the sport late I didn’t have the opportunity to do both canoe and kayak when I started. I love seeing kids in the day program doing an hour of canoe and then jump straight into a kayak for another hour. I say do this as long as you can to help develop skills in both.

Fun Fact About Drew?

The names of his childhood babysitters that convinced him to take up the sport? Canoe Kayak Canada’s Director of Development Ian Mortimer, and Rideau Olympian and now Mississauga Coach, Angus Mortimer.
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