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Cape kayakers perform well but come up short in Junior Olympic bids 

By Staff | May 10, 2016

While three young kayakers from Cape Coral made a good showing, none of them were able to crack the Junior Olympic squad during last week’s Olympic trials at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Ga.

All three were able to make the semi-finals, and two made it all the way to the “B” finals, but racing against those who were three to four years older proved a little too much to overcome.

Despite that, Melinda Mack, executive director of the South Florida Canoe Kayak Club, said placing in the top 12 to 15 in the nation for juniors is a lot to be proud of.

Chloe Mitchell paddled her way to runner-up in the “B” final of the singles 200-meter kayaking, good for 11th place out of 15 girls in the nation in her age group.

At the site of the rowing events from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Trent Cody finished 15th in the 1,000-meter singles and finished fifth in the “B” final.

Tucker Goetz didn’t make it to the finals in singles, but made “B” finals in the 200-meter pairs.

Cody said his finals race went well for him as he achieved a personal best, adding the experience provided him and his teammates with valuable information.

“We know our competition now. We can train harder knowing how they’re training and how far they are ahead of us,” Cody said. “We need to push ourselves even more.”

Mitchell competed in only the 200, but her finish cemented her as one of the top juniors in the nation – not bad for a girl just leaving junior high.

“It will be the same competition in nationals as we had this last race. I should be able to get into the “A” finals this time,” Mitchell said.

Despite Goetz not making the finals, he still set personal best times.

“Going against 16- and 17-year-olds, I think I did pretty well for my age. I made ‘B’ in pairs, but there were only 11 boats and none made the ‘A’ finals,” Goetz said. “I still made semis, so that was great.”

Coach Tanner Mack said that his kids between ages 12 and 14 racing against those between 16 and 18 looked as though they belonged in the water with them.

“They all had personal bests coming back from that. It was a learning experience, now we get ready for the national championships in Oklahoma City in the first week of August,” Mack said.