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USACK Crowns New 2001 Wildwater National Champions

Downriver racers from across the U.S. find rain-swollen Pigeon River, dramatic one-day race format

Michael Beavers
USAWildwater C-1

August 4, 2001 -- Newport, TN

Steady late-week rains increased the Pigeon River's flow and shortened race times considerably from speed training runs in weeks approaching last Saturday. Andrew McEwan (K-1), Tom Wier (C-1), Caroline Domenghino (K-1W), Shannon Reeves (K-1WJR), and Joe Barkley (K-1JR) emerged as Wildwater's National Champions for 2001 in an exciting one-day race format that combined two enervating sprints and a four-plus mile classic event performed within a span of a only few hours. According to race organizer Chris Hipgrave, the format was "very popular with both racers and spectators and could serve as a model for future major wildwater events."

McEwan Takes Top K-1 Honors

After a slight mishap with time calculations, Washington, D.C. area racer Andrew McEwan, the U.S.'s best hope for international podium time in coming years, seized the day. Dark horse contender David "D.J." Jacobson, a slalom athlete from the Nantahala Racing Club, took the silver medal home. Fellow NRC member Chris Hipgrave won the bronze with his signature lanky finesse. Though knocked out of top position in the classic, Jacobson was victorious in the sprint event that favors strength and speed training regimens followed by slalomists.

Andrew McEwan, 2001 K-1 National Wildwater Champion
Andrew McEwan blurs past the Pigeon's "Lost Guide" rapid at the 2001 National Championships, completing the 4+ mile course in well under 19 minutes.

Walla Walla Wunderkind Gains Second C-1 Championship Title
Defending National Canoe Champion Tom Wier of Washington State fended off eastern rival Michael Beavers in a tight sprint race where Wier had badly damaged his skeg halfway through his first run. After a quick field repair, Weir dominated the afternoon's classic distance run, besting Beavers by nearly eight seconds to take his second national title in as many years. Atlantan Chris Osment took the bronze with Franklin, North Carolina up-and-comer Russell Johnson closing in to take fourth.

Not-So-Sweet Swiss Miss
Expatriate Swiss paddler Caroline Domenghino defeated an increasingly competitive American women's kayak field, which included Jennie Goldberg (silver) of Seattle and Trish Chambers (bronze) of Bryson City, NC. Dlomenghino's performance was zehr gut in the sprints, defeating her short course competitors by eight seconds in the first sprint and eleven seconds in the second. The teutonic terror was over two percent faster than Goldberg in the classic run, in spite of boat damage that forced Dlomenghino to slog through a long finish line pool with considerable water weight.


Joe Barkley, 2001 K-1 Junior National Wildwater Champion

U.S. Junior Joe Barkley took advantage of his high school's weight training program to win the gold medal.


Junior U.S. Athletes Battle it Out
The junior women also fought hard, with Shannon Reeves taking the National title. Silver medalist Beth Karp and bronze finisher Kathryn Dyer, who recently won the Junior Olympics slalom title in North Carolina, rounded out the top of the pack. In the K-1 junior men's class, Raleigh paddler Joe Barkley emerged victorious over Clay Wilder (silver) and Tyler Dyer (bronze) in an incredibly tight sprint showdown and a highly competitive classic run.

Most of the juniors were fresh off of a trip to the Junior World Championships in Bala Wales and were hungry to perform on home waters.

Michael Beavers is editor of and a C-1 Wildwater racer training in Atlanta, Georgia. Reach him at




USAWildwater thanks the following volunteers for their generous 2001 Nationals race assistance!

Andy Padyk
Ben Sandiford
Chris Grubb
Chris Hipgrave
Jim Richburg
Laneece Caldwell
Lee Lebfarth
Patti Foster
Rafal Smolen
Ross Cramer
Steve Foster
Susan Chambers