2019 saw entries from all categories at the US Nationals held in Salida and Buena Vista, Colorado on the Arkansas River. The Under 19 women’s category contained two well matched and trained teams. The ladies battled fiercely throughout the competition with the Dandy Lions team captained by Lori Cassidy finally taking the title with a downriver win that saw both teams leading at different times throughout the race.
Internationally, there are four categories for whitewater raft racing athletes to compete in. Those categories are under 19, under 23, open and masters. The Dandy Lion team met and started training in June when Salida sophomore Jade Barron started seeking out team members to form a team. With the help and support of her parents, these ladies along with two Cotopaxi seniors Jamie Sanchez and Claire Carlson trained 3 times a week for 6 weeks, starting mostly from the river experience they had with their families.
Cassidy said, “We practiced different events as well as doing exercises to grow our strength, endurance and technique. I loved having rafting be such a regular part of my life and get the chance to meet and get to know a bunch of strong women in the community. I just wished we could’ve started practicing earlier in the summer.”
For all of the new teams, the first national whitewater event meant learning four different kinds of races as well as learning how to read water and different paddling techniques. The camaraderie created and sportsmanship shown between the two teams was inspiring.
“I loved how supportive the atmosphere felt and how although it was a competition it also seemed like an event for people to get together and share their passion.”
The team will be headed to China in August 2020 to compete along with the world’s best whitewater athletes. Cassidy said, “ I am really excited to meet people from around the world who also enjoy rafting and get the chance to talk and learn from other teams. I am also really excited to get the opportunity to go to China as well.”
Look for the the USA Women’s Under 19 team getting outside to practice as well as fundraisers for their journey.
If you wish to make a donation to the team’s efforts to attend the World Rafting Championships, Please follow their Go Fund Me Link here.