Deep Creek Hosts 2014 World Canoe and Kayak Championships - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Deep Creek Hosts 2014 World Canoe and Kayak Championships

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DEEP CREEK LAKE, MD. -

***UPDATE***

The top canoe and kayak paddlers are in Maryland for the International Canoe and Kayak championships. It's the second time Maryland hosted the event. This year it's at the ASCI White Water Course at Wisp Resort.

Competition began Wednesday and continues through Sunday. you can purchase tickets at Wisp Ski Resort's ticket booths.

****

It's been 25 years since the International Canoe and Kayak Championships were held in the US, and this year they're back.

Deep Creek's Adventure Sports Center International White Water course will host the competition from September 177-21. Right now teams from across the globe are training on the course and I caught up with Team USA.

"This is only the second time this event has been in the United States," said Deep Creek 2014 Executive Director Todd Copley. "It was 25-years-ago in 1989, and it was on the Savage River in Garrett County. So for all intents and purposes, we're welcoming the world back home."

Western Maryland's connection with international kayaking is unique. As is Casey Eichfeld's.

"I was actually kind of present for that last time we had the championships in 1989, not too far from here on the Savage river. Well, sort of present, my mom was 6-months pregnant when they were volunteering for the event."

Eichfeld is a US canoer who was practically born in the water.

"Paddling was a big part of my childhood, my parents bought me my first slalom boat before I was born," he said..

Earlier this year he and teammate Devin Mcewan won Gold at the Oceania Championships in Sydney Australia.

For Mcewan paddling runs in the family.

"I kind of got into the sport because of my dad," said Mcewan. "He competed in the 1972 and 1992 Olympics and made World Cups, and I think he was the champion in 1988."

In 2001 Mcewan partnered with his dad to make the national team.

"It was really cool. He definitely made me better than I really was at the time," he said.

For the past few weeks, hundreds of athletes representing nearly 40 countries have been training on the course.

Each one looking for the edge that could bring them gold.

"The important thing about our training is to learn the water," said Eichfeld. "It's kind of like a living thing. It moves, it surges, but it never really does the same thing twice, not identically anyway's. So the most important thing for us is to learn the water and get comfortable with it."

"The ultimate goal would be to win, then find a briefcase full of money, maybe a lamp with a genie inside, that would be the utmost goal," said Mcewan. "But I'd be happy with making the finals. I think that'd be a success."

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