Casey Eichfeld, U.S. Olympian in the sport of whitewater kayaking, said last night he had “river water running through my veins,” according to his parents.
Eichfeld presented the sport to parents, children, and other community members at the State Theatre to raise awareness for whitewater competition and raise awareness for the PA League of Slalom Paddling and the Mach 1 Slalom Team.
Through a series of videos, attendees watched as Olympic competitors in the 2012 London Olympic Games raced through different events, including flatwater sprints on a lake surface and whitewater slalom runs.
Eichfeld, who has been paddling since he was two years old with his parents, explained the differences between the events and the differences between canoes and kayaks.
Eichfeld said the Olympic runs were considered to be Class 4 runs, the highest category in racing.
“While competing as an individual, we race together as a team and cheer our teammates on,” Eichfeld said of the sport.
Eichfeld, who competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics, explained his training regimen which includes technical workouts that focus on paddling techniques, full length workouts that compose of four to six runs and running and weightlifting in the off season.
“If you are me, you eat whatever you want,” Eichfeld said, “I just went to Five Guys and it was delicious.”
As he continues to train for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, Eichfeld recounted his experience at the Beijing Games competing in C-2 (canoe, two person) and said the experience was incredible.
Walking through the tunnel into the stadium was so emotional, he said.
He said he became more experienced and implemented better training and a better work ethic after the Beijing Games.
Of the London Games, Eichfeld competed in C-1 (canoe single), and said his success was all on his own in the solitary sport.
After describing his Olympic experience, he introduced two medallists in the 2012 National Championships.
Sarah Mosier, who won a silver medal in the Junior National Championships, said she competes in canoe because the boat “glides across the water.”
Evelyn Van Horn, who won a bronze medal in the Junior National Championships in Women’s K-1 (kayak singles), said whitewater kayaking has made her more outgoing and self-confident.
Dave Kurtz, the head coach of Mach 1 Slalom Team, who has been teaching whitewater sports since 1954, said he hopes to get more people to compete on the teams.
Robbie Fulton, a graduate of Penn State and assistant coach of Mach 1 Slalom Team, said he gets an adrenaline rush from being in whitewater and likes the challenge of the sport.