September 13, 2018 7:40 pm
Updated: September 16, 2018 8:39 am

Canadians reach podium in every race at Day 1 of Pan Am Canoe Sprint Championships in Dartmouth

Courtney Stott, Lissa Bissonnette, Michelle Russell and Madeline Schmidt won gold in the Senior Women 500 m race on Thursday.

Joannie Verret/Canoe Kayak Canada

Canadians have made a splash at Day 1 of the Pan Am and Para Pan Am Canoe Sprint Championships, currently being held at Lake Banook in Dartmouth, N.S.

Team Canada was able to earn nine gold medals, five silver and one bronze — reaching the podium in every race.

READ MORE: Water activities continue at Lake Banook despite blue-green algae warning

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The Canadian men’s four-man kayak team of Marshall Hughes, Vencent Jourdenais, Nicholas Matveev and Pierre-Luc Poulin were able to start the nation off on a high note, winning the 500-metre race.

“It was amazing to be able to be the first race and first gold to set the tone,” said Poulin, who helped his team edge out second-place Argentina by half a second.

“We faced the boats we will need to beat next year for Olympic qualification, so this was a good opportunity to see what we need to do for next year.”

The women’s four-woman kayak team of Courtney Stott, Lissa Bissonnette, Michelle Russell and Maddy Schmidt were able to quickly add a second gold to the host nation’s tally, beating out Mexico.

“That race was closer than we would have liked, but it’s all motivation to keep us moving toward next year to qualify for [the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo],” said Russell, who hails from Fall River, N.S.

WATCH: Sprint Canoe Championships take over Lake Banook

The Canadians will hope to continue their winning ways on Friday, with the Championships set to continue 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day until Sunday.

There are 16 participating countries in the event including Mexico, Cuba, Argentina and Chile.

If you’d like to take in the action, free grandstand seating is available along Prince Albert Road in Dartmouth.

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