Nicole Haywood – From Long Lake Nanaimo to World Champion
Originally from Nanaimo, Nicole Haywood began paddling in 2004. A member of Team BC at the 2005 and 2009 Canada Summer Games, she ultimately became World Champion in 2009. Now studying in Kingston, Ontario and still paddling, Haywood says the sport drove her to be her best self.
Where did you train in BC?
- Nanaimo (2004 - August 2008)
- Burnaby (September 2008 - April 2010)
What are your career highlights?
- Senior C1-500 World Champion (2009)
- World Cup Tour Team 2011 & 2012 (4 silver – Senior C1-200)
- Pan American Championships Team 2006 & 2008
- Canada Games 2005 & 2009 – Team BC (2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze)
- Canadian National Championships 2005-2015 (not 2014; 8 gold, 14 silver, 12 bronze)
What are your favourite paddling memories?
- Learning to paddle at one of the most beautiful clubs in Canada (Long Lake, Nanaimo)
- Making lifelong friends on and off the water
- I looked forward to training camps in Newport Beach, Lake Beryessa, and San Diego all year. In fact, in 2005 my parents gave me the choice to go to Disneyworld with the family, or training camp in Newport – I chose paddling :)
- Coming down to the lake in the morning, seeing the flat-calm water, and knowing how lucky I was to be able to do what I love.
- The first 2 km timed trial in the spring of 2009. This was the first time that coach Lynn Dagenais and I knew that I had a real shot at making the National Team.
- Travelling all over Canada, the US, and Europe in pursuit of my goals.
- Gaining the confidence to set goals, work towards them, and achieve them – or not.
- Learning that the experience is more valuable than the outcome.
- *Having something that drove me to be my best self*
What are you doing now?
Working on my Master’s degree (MSc Epidemiology) at Queen’s University. I started a master’s women’s canoe group at Rideau Canoe Club (Ottawa), and enjoy coaching dragon boat. I also competed in an outrigger (OC6) race in Hawai’i in 2016. I continue to paddle C1 at Rideau in the summers, and am hoping to go to Nationals 2017!
My favourite paddling pictures:
- Top: After Senior C1-500 race in 2009
- Bottom: 2005 summer training camp at Whonnock Lake. The C4 and K4 girls did a switch race where we each competed in the opposite boat. We couldn’t figure out how to steer the K4 (!), and I’m pretty sure the kayak girls in C4 won!