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Pemberton racers star at BC Summer Games

Locals take six medals, including four gold, in Cowichan Valley



Landon Drain didn't find himself empty at the BC Summer Games on the weekend.

The Pemberton Canoe Association member won three gold medals at the Cowichan Valley event, teaming with West Vancouver's Rowan Davison to win the men's K-2 500-metre train-to-train and 2,000-metre open events. The pair also teamed up with Vancouver's Keisa Bleiler and Gillian Helliwell to top the co-ed K-4 500-metre open race.

Drain said he often finds himself competing with Davison, and was particularly proud of his accomplishments with his friend, especially at his first BC Summer Games.

Drain recalled the conditions were often not ideal, but his vessel handled the lake better than most.

"The lake was pretty windy. There were whitecaps out there. It wasn't the best lake I've paddled on, but otherwise, it was really nice," he said. "I find a headwind keeps you more stable than a tailwind ... I have a pretty stable boat, unlike other people. Other people have, usually, pretty tippy boats."

Drain credited new coach Marie Rousseau with his strong start to the season.

"Marie has been really good this year. She's really pushed me and I've accomplished a lot this year," he said. "She's worked on technique with me a lot this year and with motivation, too. She pushes me a lot and encourages me to do better all the time."

Drain's teammate Anna Beaudry also went home with three medals, winning the C-2 2,000-metre open race with Vancouver's Asha Senanayake, which she called the highlight of her week.

"We're both good at canoeing and tend to be in the same boat and win," she said. "We got the lead really fast. We had a really good start so we just pulled ahead. We kept our speed up and we finished before everybody."

Beaudry also won silver in two individual events, the C-1 500-metre train-to-train and 2,000-metre open events.

Meanwhile, Beaudry teamed with fellow Pembertonian Alexis Balsamo and a pair of Lower Mainland competitors to post top-10 finishes in the K-4 and C-4 co-ed 500-metre open events.

The weekend before the Games, PCA members attended the U16+ Provincial Championships in Kamloops. Jill Esseltine and Quinn Phare punched their tickets to next month's nationals in Quebec, while Drain is still waiting to confirm his status. Beaudry also attended, but competed in the BC Cup events as opposed to provincials.

Also at BC Summer Games, Whistler's Ryu Takaishi helped the Vancouver-Coastal boys' soccer team to a third-place finish in the tournament.

The squad started with a pair of losses, 1-0 to Kootenays and 2-1 to Fraser River before rebounding with a 4-0 win over Cariboo-North East and a 5-1 triumph over Vancouver Island-Central Coast to claim the bronze.

In all, Vancouver-Coastal placed third in the medal table with 114 medals including 37 gold.