Breck local paddles to world championships |

Breck local paddles to world championships

Geoff Mintz
summit daily news
Special to the DailyBreck local Joe Sialiano, second from right, charges through the world championships in Bosnia two years ago. There will be a fundraiser tonight at 8 p.m. at the MotherLoaded Tavern in Breck for Sialiano and his U.S. Teva National Whitewater Rafting Team, which is headed back to worlds in October.

Breckenridge paddler Joe Sialiano has been training all year for the 2011 World Rafting Championships. His Vail- and Summit County-based team has won 10 consecutive national titles and they’ll once again be representing their country on the world stage in Costa Rica in October.

The community is coming together for a fundraiser tonight at MotherLoaded Tavern at 8. to help support his travels with the U.S. Teva National Whitewater Raft Team, which is not for profit.

The team also includes Todd Toledo, who spends a lot of time in Summit County, as well. They’ll be competing in three events on the Pacuare River: downriver (marathon), sprint and slalom. Having earned the invitation by winning the national championship in Oregon this spring, the Teva team is the sole representation from the U.S.

Despite a dozen or more trips to the world championships (they’ve lost count), the team has never come home with a win, although they have made it up onto the podium. A win is something they’ve wanted to achieve for many years. Last year in Amsterdam, they took fourth in the world.

“We’d like to win. The competition is pretty fierce between Czech Republic, Japan, Brazil and Germany,” Sialiano said. “I think it’s the commitment (that has led to the team’s success), and we all love the sport. Everyone on the team is committed to training and don’t want to let our teammates down.”

For Sialiano, his training has been even more arduous than the rest of the team, as he’s had to travel over the pass four days per week to meet his teammates in Dotsero.

The six-man boat has been finishing in the top-three in the sprint event and struggling a little bit more in the slalom, Sialiano said, but they’ve been training really hard and have been improving. The team that wins will likely be really solid at all three events.

At Nationals, they ran a nearly perfect slalom run, which has been their weakness. If they can have that kind of performance again, their chances are looking pretty good.

“We come from different sports backgrounds, but I think we all want to win no matter what we’re doing. It just happens to be rafting,” Sialiano said. “We’ve been doing this so long and you can teach certain things, but you can’t teach commitment.”

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