Davidson student one step closer to Olympics
by Staff Writer
Caroline Queen started this journey at age 9, and she’s riding the tide all the way to the London 2012 Olympics.
Queen, a sophomore at Davidson, finished second in the women’s kayak slalom at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Whitewater Slalom at the U.S. National Whitewater Center the weekend of April 14. The finish secured Queen a spot on the U.S. National Team. That team will go on to compete in the final Olympic qualifying event June 8-12 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. The 2012 Canoe Slalom World Cup will determine the team for the London Olympics kicking off July 27.
She said she feels pretty good about her prospects after a strong performance last year at the same event.
She got close to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, but fell short at third place in her class when she needed a win to make the Olympic team.
The Darnestown, Md., native grew up surrounded by lakes, rivers and an artificial falls course. She first discovered kayaking at Valley Mill Camp and started competing when she was 12. Queen didn’t go far from the water when she chose Davidson College, with lake access for serene paddling and the U.S. National Whitewater Center within 25 miles.
She played other sports in high school, but latched onto kayaking early.
“I like that it’s different than a lot of other sports,” Queen said. “It really challenges the individual.”
Queen trains five to six days a week with other competitive kayakers at the whitewater center and cross-trains at school. She plays club field hockey and intramural basketball and does cardio and strength training to stay in shape to paddle her fastest.
On busy school days when she doesn’t have time to make the drive, Lake Norman is an idyllic alternative.
“I love the lake access that we have at Davidson. It’s a lot closer, and really nice scenery,” Queen said.
Queen only competes in the slalom; she doesn’t paddle sprints. She also always competes along in her boat.
Davidson College senior Austin Kieffer also competed in the trials at the whitewater center, but will not compete in Cardiff.
Slalom National Teams, according to TeamUSA.org
Men’s Kayak – Michal Smolen, Ricky Powell, Isaac Levinson
Women’s Kayak – Ashley Nee, Caroline Queen, Emily Jackson
Men’s Canoe – Benn Fraker, Casey Eichfeld, Tyler Hinton
Women’s Canoe – Collen Hickey, Micki Reeves