Among the nearly one thousand athletes competing at the Canoe Kayak Sprint National Championships in Regina this weekend is Jarret Kenke, but his aim wasn’t entirely on winning: he was also looking to mentor younger athletes.

Kenke, from Saskatoon, won his first national championship in Kayak sprint 10 years ago.

But the 25-year-old’s passion for the sport was first ignited when he represented the Saskatoon Racing Canoe Club at the very same event happening this week at Wascana Lake, in 2006.

“I was very young at that time, it was kind of an eye opener to what the national championships were really, a lot of the senior athletes at the club kind of put the blocks in place to being like, this is how you get ready for a race,” Kenke recalled.

The athlete’s success didn’t stop there: Kenke captured a silver medal at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru – an experience he was not shy to share.

“I feel like as athletes, sometimes we feel like we shouldn't brag too much about you know our medals and stuff. I think it's something to be super proud of because you know Pan Am Games doesn't happen every year so,” Kenke said.

Kenke’s K4 500M kayak team finished fourth at this year’s national competition.

But the kayaker now has his sights set on next year’s Summer Games in Tokyo.

“Ever since 2006, kind of dreaming of going to the Olympics,” Kenke said. “So to think that it’s possibly less than a year away gives me chills, gives me goosebumps.”

And along with working towards an Olympic appearance, the athlete hopes to have inspired a new generation of Saskatchewan paddlers.