by Haley and Selena, Team Popp

Yours truly, Selena and Haley Popp, interviewed our international guests today here at the Junior Olympics.

We have Canadians and Australians joining the rest of us Americans in the races and events this week. Our ears went to the sweetly accented voices of four Australian boater chicks as they chattered together, playfully fighting and teasing one another by the river.

The Aussie Team coming together for the 2010 Junior OlympicsThe Aussie Team coming together for the 2010 Junior Olympics

The girls (from left to right) are Grace, Annie, Krystal, and Eliza. They go to different schools but all train together on the same slalom whitewater course with their coach. The girls traveled to Disneyworld and to the Charlotte slalom course before coming to the Junior Olympics here at the Nantahala. Despite the 18 hour time difference, these cute but strong girls are always smiling and bursting with energy, zipping around the slalom gates faster than you’d expect 14-16 year old girls to do.

Team Aussie training for the Junior Olympics on the NantahalaTeam Aussie training for the Junior Olympics on the Nantahala

If you see one of these girls on the water, whether its slalom or all the other events they enter, be sure to cheer them on… GOOOO AUSSIES!

This morning we all headed up to Surfer’s Rapid to do a classic wildwater “race” which was held unofficially and posted as a training run. The Aussies put on at the Ledges with Bryson, Selena, and Haley (all yours truly) to warm up down to the start line. Team Popp kicked off with a mass start because we had the fastest boats, and when we crossed the finish line we headed on down to take out and watch our friends go by as well. Today was a great day for all, as we reflected sitting together munching post-race ice cream at Slow Joe’s Cafe.

Thursday’s event is a freestyle clinic, followed by the Championship slalom races Friday, and more slalom and freestyle this weekend! See you on the water!