Area paddlers take on Terminator in Austria
The third movie of the “Terminator” series hasn’t been released yet, but a trio of area kayakers will take on “Terminator III” Monday.
Terminator III is the marquee hole on the Mur River near Graz, Austria, where the World Freestyle Kayaking Championships take place over the next week.
Colorado Rocky Mountain School sophomore Hanna Farrar, junior Ali Wade and Carbondale resident Celeste Powers are all members of the U.S. Junior Women’s National team and begin competition in the junior division at the Worlds on Monday. The fourth member of the U.S. Junior team competing is Brooke Bevan of Salida.
“There are pro men swimming out of that hole,” said CRMS kayaking coach Peter Benedict of Terminator III. “Our girls are the only girls who are even daring to go into the hole – and they are swimming out as well.”
Benedict, who coached all three of the local kayakers, compares Terminator III to the Burns hole on the Colorado River, but says it’s much more powerful. It will be an adjustment for the local girls, but one that they should be able to make.
“Being from Colorado, and having seen some pretty big holes, is going to help them,” Benedict said.
In all, more than 400 paddlers from over 40 countries are expected at the event.
“I’m just psyched to be able to compete with people from all over the world,” said Farrar, who was the 2002 Colorado Cup champion.
While Farrar is happy to just be on the same river with the other top kayakers, Benedict believes the local crew could come back with some hardware as well.
“The U.S. has most of the top athletes (in kayaking), so the competition is not going to be that much different than what they’ve seen before,” he said. “Brooke Bevan is really good and two Canadian girls are really good, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see two medalists.”
The key will be health. Farrar missed some time on the water earlier this season due to a shoulder injury suffered while skiing. Wade hasn’t been able to paddle much in the last 11⁄2 months due to a pinched nerve in her back, according to Benedict.
But all three have been saving themselves for the big water of the Mur.
The qualifying rounds start Monday and run through Thursday. The quarterfinals are Friday, while the semis and head-to-head finals are slated for Saturday.
And, what about a 1-2-3 sweep for the Carbondale-based kayakers?
“That would be pretty sweet, for sure,” Farrar said.
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