Nova Scotia paddlers are off to a strong start at the 2017 Canada Games in Winnipeg, picking up medals in seven of eight races on Monday.
"We kind of knew where our strengths and weaknesses were and right now we're showing strength," said Jeff Houser, regional coach for the Atlantic Division of Canoe Kayak Canada. "It's a strong group of kids. It's great to be a part of this."
Monday was the first day of four days with a total of 36 paddling events at the games. The team won three gold, two silver and two bronze. Nova Scotia placed fourth in the paddling event where it didn't medal.
'Everything went really well'
"Across the board we came into this thinking, reasonably, if everything went really well and we had a few people really step up we could potentially medal in every event," said Houser.
"I think right now, the most we've ever gotten was 28 out of the 36 possible and I think we're on track to do a little better than that right now."
Ashley Card, from Hammonds Plains, competed in the K-1 500 metre and the K-2 1,000-metre races. She won gold in the K-1 and silver in the K-2.
Card, a kayaker, only had one week to prepare for the Canada Games. The week before, she was competing at world championships in Romania.
"I'm really excited about how the week started off," said Card,17, whose home club is Maskwa Aquatic Club in Halifax.
Connor Fitzpatrick, 18, from the Senobe Aquatic Club, which he described as "the big blue shack on Lake Banook", in Dartmouth won two medals for canoe races. He won a gold for the C-1 500-metre and bronze for the C-2 1,000-metre.
'Keep Nova Scotia proud'
"Both really good races," said Fitzpatrick. "Just really try to go hard and keep Nova Scotia proud and keep the canoe kayak expectation up."
The games — which feature 16 sports and more than 250 events — started on July 28 and run until Aug. 13. Team Nova Scotia has 425 athletes competing in total.
Houser, who has been to the Canada Games five times as a coach, said some of those other athletes have been coming to check out the paddling events.
Nova Scotia 'not taking a back seat'
"It's a great atmosphere here, the kids are having a great time," he said.
The latest medal count can be found on Team Nova Scotia's website.
Nova Scotia paddlers have eight races scheduled for Tuesday.
"We're not taking a back seat to anyone, we're out here saying our expectation is we're going to be in the medals, we're here to do well, and it comes through," said Houser.