Reeves serves as advocate for slalom canoe racing
Micki Reeves loved being on the river.
She’d tried her hand at kayaking, but as she developed shoulder problems three years ago, her interest waned.
A year and a half ago she found a new water sport.
“I met a local family whose kids did local (canoe) slalom races,” Reeves said.
She took an interest. Within two months of first trying her hand at canoeing, she was in Durango competing in her first slalom event.
She was hooked.
In a span of less than two years, the 2007 Fruita Monument High School graduate has risen through the ranks.
Two weeks ago she earned her second berth on the U.S. Women’s Senior Canoe team based on results at the national team trials in Charlotte, N.C.
Reeves qualified in the C1 women’s class, a new division in canoeing that was established last year.
Results in a canoe slalom event are based on time. Paddlers try to maneuver a course in the shortest time possible. Time penalties are assessed if the canoeist touches a gate (two seconds) or misses a gate (50 seconds).
Reeves was one of three qualifiers for the women’s national team last year after competing for the first time in the U.S. team trials. That earned her a trip to the pre-world canoe championships in Seu D’Urgell, Spain. There, she got her first taste of international competition.
“It was interesting to paddle with the best people because you learn how to do things,” said Reeves, a relative neophyte in the sport compared to many international competitors who have been canoeing most of their lives.
“It was pretty incredible,” she said of the talent.
Just by observing the best of the best, she was able to pick up a few tips.
For a sport she took up with no original intention of competing, it’s become her main focus.
Reeves took a semester off from her studies at Mesa State College this fall to attend the
U.S. team trials and prepare for next month’s national canoe championships in North Carolina.
She is training in Golden on a course on Clear Creek, set up by Colorado School of Mines.
Still, she sees her main job as educating the athletic community.
“The goal right now is to get out there and let people know this is a women’s sport,” Reeves said.
Currently the International Olympic Committee does not recognize women’s canoeing as an Olympic sport.