A member of the U.S. National Team, Zach "Bug" Lokken, is in the running for one of four potential canoe/kayak slalom athlete positions for the United S. On May 7 and 8 in Oklahoma City, Bug will compete in the second of two Olympic Trial events that will determine whether he will compete in Rio’s Olympic Whitewater Stadium on August 7.
Two Coloradan youth athletes, members of 2016 Canoe Slalom Junior National Team, are also hoping to qualify for a spot on the Olympic team: Teagon Johnson-Moore, 17, from Lyons and Charlie Kieft, 22, from Boulder.
Bug took time out of his busy training and travel schedule for a quick Q&A.
Event/Discipline: Canoe Slalom, C1 and C2 (with partner Michael Smolen)
CW: What was your first introduction to river sports?
Bug: My whole family had some role in the sport of slalom either as athletes or as part of the race organization. My two older siblings both paddled kayak and raced slalom, while my parents worked as both judges and organizers. Currently, my mom is an ICF judge and my dad is an ICF video judge at many major international events, including the Olympics.
CW: Can you describe your training regime?
Bug: My training program consists of being on the water twice a day, either on whitewater of flat water and at the gym three times a day. For flat water workouts, I do sprints, aerobic, and endurance training. On whitewater, I do a lot of technique work and race prep.
CW: Do you do any cross training?
Bug: I don’t do much cross training throughout the year. But once a year I do a week or two of skate skiing in Lake Placid, New York and in my home town, Durango.
CW: Do you have any good luck charms or rituals?
Bug: About a minute or two before my run, I try to clear my head of all outside distractions, even the racecourse ahead of me. I do this because slalom is all about feel for the water. And if I push out all the distractions, then I can let my body do all the work.
CW: What has been the secret to your (boating) success?
Bug: To be honest, there are no secrets. All I do is train very hard and focus on the goal!
CW: What other boating styles that you do for fun?
Bug: I really like all of kinds of boating. I really enjoy surfing in waves and holes, and ocean surfing is a lot of fun, too. I really like surfing on river waves and holes more than ocean just because you can stay in them forever, and its tons of fun.
CW: On what stretch of river can you be found when you're not competing?
Bug: When I’m not competing, you can find me in my slalom boat on the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. It’s a great course to paddle and surf and have fun on.
CW: What is your favorite Colorado river run?
Bug: I would have to say my home town river the Animas in Durango. I just love how huge it gets in March from all the snow run off.
CW: What is your favorite worldwide river run?
Bug: I really like the whitewater course in Australia because the eddies are really good for upstreams, and there are some really good drops in it.
CW: What is your favorite activity aside from boating?
Bug: I really enjoy skiing! I have been skiing ever since I was young, so its super close to me. I just love the top speeds I can reach, and jumping is a lot of fun as well. And of course skiing with all my friends.
CW: What is something about you that many people don't know?
Bug: My nickname is Bug. Almost everybody calls me Bug from teachers to my parents to my friends and even my girlfriend. And everybody who knows me internationally calls me Bug too!
CW: What are your career aspirations?
Bug: I am interested in business solutions. I just really like solving problems.
CW: Do you have any advice for other aspiring competitive boaters?
Bug: You need to work hard at whatever you do!! Give it your all always.
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