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Sprint: Canoe & Kayak
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What is Sprint?


Powerful athletes race head-to-head on a beautiful 9-lane course in narrow high-speed canoes and kayaks. Olympic Flatwater Sprint Racing combines grace, power, fitness, exact paddling mechanics, and amazing mental strength in four distances - 200m, 500m, 1000m, and 5000 meters. First introduced in the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, Canoe/Kayak Sprint became a full medal sport in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Today, in partnership with Slalom, Canoe/Kayak represents the 4th largest Olympic sport with 16 events:  12 in Sprint, and 4 in Slalom.


Athletes are seated and use a paddle with a blade at each end in Kayak events, while racing in single (K1), double (K2), and four (K4) boats. Canoe events, in single (C1) and double (C2) are characterized by a single-bladed paddle, and are raced from the powerful high-knee position:  kneeling up high on one knee. C4s are also raced at the annual World Championships.


The USA-ACA has won 7 Gold, 4 Silver, and 6 Bronze Olympic Medals in Sprint.







Coaches & Volunteers:


Sprint Paddling Clubs:



  • Calendar
  • Sprint National Team Trials


    • 2020 - April 16-19: Lake Lanier, GA
      • USA-ACA Athlete Selection Procedures (PDF)


  • Pan American Championships - Continental Qualifier
  • World Cup #1
    • 2020 - May 8-10: Racice, Czech Republic
  • ICF World Cup #2
  • ICF Senior Non-Olympic Events World Championships
    • 2020 - July 10-12: Szeged, Hungary
  • ICF Junior / U23 World Championships
  • U.S. Sprint Nationals
  • Olympic Hopes Regatta (OHR)
    • The Olympic Hopes Regatta is a premier international event for athletes in years U17, U16, and U15. The OHR Team USA trip has evolved to gain high quality international experience as a step towards Junior Worlds and beyond. The coaches and team leadership have worked to provide a great athlete experience at the most reasonable cost possible, ensuring that athletes stay in safe, comfortable accommodations with good food and equipment.
  • Olympics
  • World University Championships
    • 2020 - Aug 21-23: Minsk, Belarus



  • Olympic Development Program (ODP)
    • The Olympic Development Program serves as a forum to identify and develop athletes to represent the USA at domestic and international competitions. The foundation of the program is to identify athletes and pick teams with the view of supporting and encouraging those Sprint canoe and kayak athletes who have shown the potential and the desire to qualify for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Teams.
  • Barton Bantams
    • The ACA in partnership with Epic Kayaks are proud to present the Barton Bantams Program to all current Bantam ACA members. This program encourages bantam athletes to train hard and smart throughout the fall season so that they can learn the importance of spending quality training time on the water while fine tuning their technique. This program is named after Greg Barton who competed in three Summer Olympic Games  (1984, 1988, and 1992) where he won four medals including 2 gold (K1-1000m, K2 1000m in 1988), and two bronze in K1 1000m (1984 and 1992). Greg is the epitome of what it means to be a true role model both in and out of the kayak. It is our hope that current and future ACA paddlers will follow in Greg’s footsteps by participating in this program.


Racing Rules:

  • Sprint Racing Rules (PDF)

Support the Sprint Community:



National Office Staff: 



more Event Calendar

The 40th Great Rappahannock Whitewater Canoe Race

ACA Mission

Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling, stewardship support to help protect paddling environments, and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration, and recreation.

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ACA | Canoe-Kayak-SUP-Raft-Rescue
503 Sophia St. Suite 100
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Phone: 540-907-4460
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