With An Eye On '96, Brown Is Headed For Olympic Trials

Monkton Kayaker Earns One Of 22 Spots For May Qualifying Event

April 19, 1992|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff writer

Kayaker Becky Brown doesn't expect to become an Olympian -- at leastuntil 1996.

But she will pick up valuable experience next month at the Olympic Trials for the U.S. Canoe and Kayak Team that will compete in the Summer Games in Barcelona later this year.

The Monkton resident qualified last weekend in South Bend, Ind., for one of 22 spots at the Olympic trials, May 15 and 16, on the Savage River in Western Maryland.

Only three women will make the team.

Brown, racing in Connecticut this weekend, could not be reached for comment.

She is the reigning junior national girls kayak champion. Every day, she trains on the Potomac River feeder canal near George Washington University, where she is a freshman. Many of the nation's other top kayakers train there, too.

A member of the Junior National team for two years, Brown won the junior title last July at theJunior National Canoe and Kayak Championships on the Nantahala Riversouth of the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina.

For the past two summers, Brown has gone on racing tours of Europe and Canada. In 1990, she competed at the Junior World Championships in Switzerlandand followed with two weeks in France, Italy and Spain learning how to handle difficult rapids.

Last summer, Brown raced in Quebec andOntario after she won her junior title.

To win that championship,Brown had to negotiate more than 20 gates hung over a white-water slalom course on the rapids of the Nantahala. Racing against the clock,kayakers received penalties for missing or touching gates, some of which they had to pass through going upstream.

Each kayaker ran thecourse twice with the best time counting toward her final place. Brown's winning time came on her first try. She only touched one gate.

To qualify for the Olympic Trials, Brown will have to race against more experienced senior kayakers. The women with the 10 top times of the season automatically receive a berth at the trials.

Other racers, like Brown, had to qualify by finishing in the top three in one of several designated races. Brown missed qualifying in the first raceearlier this month but finished second last weekend in South Bend.

Although winning the junior title did boost her stock somewhat, Brown has said she still has a lot of work to do to reach her ultimate goal of making the 1996 Olympic team.

"(Winning) doesn't really change many things," said Brown last summer. "I still have to train justas hard."

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