Southern Invitational Regatta
Where: Lake Lanier Olympic Venue
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
Admission cost: Free
Teams participating: Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club, OKC Riversport, Washington Canoe Club
Races: K1 (1-person kayak), C1 (1-person canoe), K2 (2-person kayak), C2 (2-person canoe), K4 (4-person kayak), C4 (4-person canoe)
Training can be a brutal process for canoe and kayak racers. With practices at least twice a day, six days a week as part of the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club, Owen Farley-Klacik said he and his teammates have to keep an eye toward the end game.
“Sometimes you don’t want to go,” the 14-year-old from Gainesville said. “But you have to break your muscles down so you can build them back up.”
At times like those, whether it’s in the water, lifting weights or running, the presence of teammates is a driving force.
“You don’t feel so crazy knowing there’s other people doing it with you,” Farley-Klacik said.
“It always helps having someone push you.”
Canoers and kayakers from Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C., are joining competitors from the LCKC for the Southern Invitational Regatta this Saturday at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue.
This weekend’s races mark a crucial tune-up for the USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint National Championships (July 31-Aug. 2) and Masters National Championships (Aug. 3) hosted by LCKC later this summer.
The Washington Canoe Club is expected to bring a handful of competitors to the event, according to Morgan House, Olympic Venue manager and High Performance 1 coach for LCKC. The host team will have about 50 competitors, as will OKC Riversport as it returns after making previous trips to the races.
House is excited to see the Oklahoma City group coming back after previous positive experiences.
“They love coming here because our water is so much better and so much cleaner,” House said. “Coming here is a big treat for them.”
Farley-Klacik specializes in the 1,000-meter kayak but also does the 500 and 200; he’ll be in the upcoming Lake Placid Regatta in New York, as well. He’s part of a group of 17 competitors age 14-21 coached by House with LCKC.
“I’ve been able to watch them transform over the past year and become high-caliber athletes,” House said. “This is a pressure situation, and I look forward to seeing how they react. I expect them to react well and professionally.”
Saturday’s races will feature competitors ranging in age from 12 to their late 40s, according to House. The regatta will include races for individuals, plus groups of two and four, in both kayak and canoe.
“We love it every time we get to race other people,” Farley-Klacik said. “To see competition and to see where you’re at, it’s always good.”
While competition is clearly the main theme this weekend, it’s about even more for House.
“Having races like this cements the fact that we do have a world-class venue,” House said. “Without the support of the city and county, this wouldn’t be possible.”