I know how much effort it takes to get a team to the IRF World Rafting Champs. So, Bre Rocksund (Captain) – Back Right, Julie Sutton – Back or Front Left, Rachel Day – Front Right, Meghan Robertson – Front Left, and Mia Carrasco-Songer – Alternate, are the true heroes and an example of perseverance and love for this sport, which motivates them to overcome all the problems and obstacles on that road. The award for their dedication is the honour to fly the USA flag at the most prestigious competition of the rafting world, and to compete against the best in the world in the Open Women’s category.
Bre Rocksund chatted to us about the team.
“Back in Black Raft Team, though officially formed in 2016, is made up of women who have been racing together in various configurations, under multiple team names since 2010. Life and geography took them on different rivers and boats but now they are back together, crystallized as the US Women’s Raft Team, Back in Black.
The women of Back in Black are incredible athletes who share a competitive spirit and the hope to increase the participation of women in whitewater raft racing.
As the team continues to morph, we strive to be competitive regionally and nationally (and now internationally), increase exposure of whitewater raft racing – specifically for women, increase women’s participation in this great sport, and be positive female role models.”
How does your team prepare for the competition?
“Our team training consists of on water paddle practice 2-3 times per week along with cross training off water at least 3 times a week. This consists of cross-fit, running, swimming, yoga, mountain biking and high intensity interval training.”
“We are coming in with a really strong team. I think the results will follow. As an R-4 unit we all work together really well. We are all or have been raft guides and most of us have years of raft racing experience. I think what we lack for not being experienced on a manmade course, we will make up for by our strength and whitewater knowledge.”
Do you follow the work of other participants?
“Absolutely. Watching successful, good countries is a motivational tool to train that much harder. We also like watching women’s’ teams in other countries to cheer them on. It’s great to see this sport progress and more countries get involved.”
Which discipline does your team like the most?
“Our team discipline is downriver. We all have been training a lot for endurance so hopefully running with our boat and the flat water will be the easy part! The heat and sun of the desert may be a different story!”
“We want to ride camels!!!”
That’s a great idea!
Are their sponsors that you’d like to thank?
“We would first like to thank our friends and families for being our biggest sponsors. Anyone involved in this sport knows that it takes a lot of time, energy, and money for training and competing. So a big thanks to everyone that has backed us up and gave us support throughout our journey!
The USA will have a record number of teams at this WRC competition. They will have their representatives in the four categories of Open Men and Women, Masters Men and Under 23 Men. A great sign of progress in the sport rafting in this country. These girls will cross their paddles with another 16 countries, not an easy task on an artificial course in the desert of the Middle East. I think they have the strength and determination to achieve a great result for the USA. We are looking forward to seeing them compete in this competition.
Their Facebook page: RLRRacing