Photo Courtesy: itsgametimesomewhere.com - Scott Mann
After successfully navigating some off-course obstacles, Scott Mann and Dana Benus Mann are hoping they can turn their focus back to the water and concentrate on qualifying for the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships this year.
Together for three years in a back-and-forth international relationship, Scott, 26, married Dana, 28, who hails from Bratislava, Slovakia, on Oct. 2, 2010. The two eschewed training in Australia with fellow paddlers to wait for Dana’s green card, which arrived earlier this year, set up in their Bethesda, Md., home and, with their domestic affairs in order, are now free to put all their energy back in to kayaking.
They showed just what they’re capable of in March at the 2011 Bank of America Whitewater U.S. Open on the Natahala River in North Carolina: Scott won the men’s kayak event and Dana captured the women’s kayak title.
Although they were both happy to triumph together, neither is letting the success cloud their visions of obtaining long term goals, most pressing of which is performing well at the USA Canoe/Kayak National Team Trials April 15-17 in Charlotte.
“I didn’t really try to peak at (the U.S. Open),” Dana said. “It is only one for me to (prepare) for my own selection in Slovakia. In Slovakia it’s really hard to be good because I have a double Olympic champion and a world champion in my class. In order to be in the team I really have to be good.”
Scott shares the same sentiments as his wife.
“That was one of the events I was looking for to gauge myself and see what needed work,” he said. “Having a good result and being able to put the pieces together — the technical and the mental and the psychological — on the weekend was certainly good, but at the same time it’s early. It’s three weeks before the race. I have to stay mindful that the race that matters, that will set the stage for the rest of my year, is still coming.”
The Team Trials will help determine who represents the United States at the international level in the lead up to the London 2012 Olympic Games. Scott is a two-time national champion and a two-time Olympic alternate (2004, 2008). His goal is to end that alternate status next summer.
While Dana still will represent her home country in international competition, she will use the meet to train and give herself a better chance to compete with champions in Slovakia. The first major step toward London after the Trials is the World Championships, which this year happens to be held in Bratislava.
“I picked the right girl for this World Championships,” Scott said. “As long as Trials and everything go well I can just go live in Bratislava and train on the course, so that works out nicely.”
The kayaking couple met in 2007 at a race in Murano, Italy.