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Olympic kayaking hopefuls making a splash

2/17/2008 6:11 PM

By: News 8 Austin Staff





Ben Kvanli, Olympic kayaker.

 


Ben Kvanli is a seasoned Olympian and Chelsea Bornemann is a 10-year-old with only one year of kayaking experience.

Despite the age and experience gap between the two athletes, they both have Olympic aspirations. And Kvanli coaches the 10-year-old junior Olympian.

"What's cool is when they make the Olympics you think back and it's like, 'wow, it's that kid', you know, all grown up," Kvanli said.

The Olympic veteran is working to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing this summer, but is also getting pumped for Bornemann.

"I was way more excited for her run than I am for mine. I've done this a few times. She hasn't," Kvanli said.

Thirty of the nation's best white water kayakers hit the rapids of the San Marcos River Sunday.

Bornemann said she enjoys sharing the waters with such great athletes.

"I wish I can be like them someday," Bornemann said.



Athletes from as far as Chile kayak the waters of San Marcos with dreams that may hopefully become reality in qualifying for the summer games in China.

They're competing in four categories: men's and women's kayak, canoe, and double canoe.

Three people from each category will advance to the national finals.

Only five athletes will be chosen to represent the U.S in Beijing.

But if you ask the competitors, they'll tell you they're all going to the Olympics.

Fans said Kvanli will likely make it to the 2008 games. And as for Chelsea, she just wants paddle with the best.

"I want to follow them in their steps," she said.

Her year might be just a little downstream.

The San Marcos River became an official U.S. Olympic training site in December.

For more information about kayaking on the San Marcos River visit Red River Racing.