Andrew and IanMount students Andrew Jessop and Ian Miller placed first in the Junior Men K-2 500M at the 2010 CanoeKayak Canada (CKC) Sprint National Championships. The championships were held in Regina this year, and attracted the best paddlers from across the country, including several students from the Mount. 

“It was a great feeling to stand on the podium – especially with all three crews being from Nova Scotia,” says Ian, a fourth year student in the Bachelor of Public Relations Program.

With intense training schedules, Andrew and Ian have to work very hard to manage the balance between kayaking and academics.

“It’s tough,” says Andrew, a third year student in the Bachelor of Business Administration program. “But if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll find a way to do it.”

Tough barely begins to describe the amount of work that goes into reaching nationals. The pair trains three times a day, six days a week, 11 months a year. This intense agenda is filled with sprinting, weight training and endurance training, in addition to daily skill training in the water.

With all of this time devoted to their sport, it is difficult to imagine fitting anything else into their schedule.  Somehow both manage to maintain full-time student status and focus heavily on their studies.

“There are many times when I head off to practice with project deadlines fast approaching,” says Ian. “For the hour or two away from school I try to give my academic mind a break and hopefully come back sharper even if I’m a bit more tired physically.”

While Ian is a full-time student on campus, Andrew has chosen a different route for managing the balance. He takes advantage of the Mount’s distance education option so he can continue his studies while training hard year-round.

“The distance program allows me to do all of those different competitions,” says Andrew. “I can go at the drop of a hat.”

And he does. Every winter Andrew and many other upper level paddlers in Canada head to Florida to train. While many athletes would choose to take that time off from school, Andrew takes courses via-distance so he won’t fall behind in his studies.

In addition to training, kayaking has allowed Ian and Andrew to travel around the world, visiting the Czech Republic, Poland, Mexico and France for tournaments.

“I was selected for the 2006 Pan American Championships in Mexico City and the 2007 Junior World Championships in Czech Republic,” says Ian. “Those were big goals, and having those types of opportunities available has certainly made an impact on my life.”

Goals, according to Andrew, are often the main thing to keep him motivated during long days of training. Andrew’s ultimate dream is to someday make the Olympic team. Alternatively, Ian’s goals are a little more undetermined.

“As long as I enjoy it and am having fun with it, I will continue to train and compete,” Ian says. “I’m not sure what level I’ll make it to, and that’s part of the fun of it, to push your limits and see what’s possible.”

As Andrew and Ian continue with their education at the Mount, and continue to strive for excellence as kayakers, one thing is clear: anything is possible. With their most recent championship propelling them to new heights, there is little doubt that they will be seen time and time again on the podium on the national and international stage, representing their club, their country, and the Mount.

*Pictured above: Andrew Jessop (front) and Ian Miller. Photo by Pride and Joy Photo. See more photos here.