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Local Duo Continue Their Success

by John Pinyerd
Chairman - USA Wildwater

July 1, 2006 -- Marietta, GA

The following article by Greg Oshust, Marietta Daily Journal Sports Writer, appeared in the Marietta Daily Journal on July 1.

John Pinyerd and David Jones have had much success in whitewater racing during their 25-year association in the sport.

The two local racers had by far the biggest day of their careers when they both won medals in their age groups at the Wildwater World Championships in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, on June 16.

Pinyerd, 49-year old Marietta resident who is the Southeast Regional Sales and Operations Manager for Dart Transit, won a gold medal in the C1 45-54 age group in canoe racing, while Jones, a 58-year old Buckhead resident who is a semi-retired dentist, came away with a bronze medal in the K1 Men's 55-and-over age group in kayak racing. Pinyerd finished with a time of 13:35.69, finishing 3.41 seconds ahead of silver medalist Veljko Milihram of Croatia (13:39.10) and 21.41 seconds ahead of bronze medalist Joel Gazeau of France (13:57.10) to win the canoe 45-54 age group and claim the first world championship of his whitewater racing career.

For Pinyerd, it was truly a special moment for him.

"It was like a payday, finally getting the recognition for all the years of hard work and training," Pinyerd said. "It felt really good."

Jones finished with a time of 12:21.25, placing behind gold medalist Wolfgang Brink of Germany (11:35.07) and silver medalist Jaroslav Horyna of Czech Republic (12:14.15) to place third in the kayak 55-and-over age group, the highest finish for Jones in his six appearances at the worlds.

Jones said his bronze medal finish took the sting off of a fourth-place finish at the worlds in 1989, as he barely missed out on winning a bronze that year.

"I had a chance to win a bronze in 1989 and it was disappointing to fall short," Jones said. "Winning the bronze this year kind of erased that disappointment."

It was by far the best day of what has been a long association in whitewater racing and friendship, which began in 1981 when Pinyerd took up the sport and took on Jones as his coach.

Jones said he immediately saw the potential in his young protégé.

"John just showed up one day and said he wanted to be a whitewater racer," Jones said. "He was so competitive. I knew he would be successful, because he wanted it so bad."

Jones coached Pinyerd for five years and the two have remained close friends as well as training partners.

Jones still helps out Pinyerd during their training sessions at the Chattahoochee River, but said Pinyerd coaches him just as much.

"We both serve as each other's coach," Jones said. "We know each other so well and we know our strengths and weaknesses and what we need to work on."

Said Pinyerd, "Both of us have enough experience in the sport to help each other and with the results we've had, we figure we're doing something right."

In addition to his age group gold medal at the worlds, Pinyerd has also won five national C-2 (doubles) championships from 1993 through 1998 as well as ranking 11th overall in the World Cup standings in 1991

Jones, who started his racing career in flatwater racing in 1973 and switched to whitewater racing in 1980, also has won seven national C-2 championships (1982, 1985-90).

Both Pinyerd and Jones are planning to try to qualify for the next world championships, which will be held in 2008 in Mezzano, Italy.