Interview with Jack Phelan – The new captain of the kayak club.

How long have you been Kayaking?

I started in my first year so about 2 and a half years

What is your favourite discipline in Kayaking?

I’d be 50-50 between Whitewater and Freestyle which are also probably the two most practiced disciplines in ULKC

What is your greatest achievement in kayaking?

Getting my level 4 after less than a year is pretty high up there and also helping the club win the 6 in a row.

How are you finding your new role of captain so far?

It’s not too bad yet. We are just starting to organise our annual trip to the Alps which is going to involve a lot of logistical challenges due to the amount of people we try to bring every year. First semester of 2015 is when it’s going to get hard, trying to recruit as many members as we can and then both trying to keep them and ensure they have a good time.

Is there a lot of pressure on you now given the clubs winning history in both national competitions and UL’s C&S awards?

I wouldn’t say a lot no, obviously with us winning the 6 in a row in the Intervarsities there will be a bit to try win 7 and break the record. With regards to C&S awards the pressure is still on Gavin as it was his year the awards are based on!

What will you bring to the club?

I have always been very proactive in the roles I have had in the club before and intend on keeping it this way. With a committee comprised of mostly first years my main goal will be to train them all up so that they can run the club when the older members leave. I want to bring some new events in and also let our newer members have a bigger say in how the club is run.

In what direction is ULKC heading?

Up! Each year I was in the club we have strived to improve every year and I truly believe we have, membership has increased each year, we have more active members than ever before and the club has really pushed itself in every aspect possible. I want to continue this with us attending more national events and hopefully even international ones, increasing our fundraising for local charities and to try and increase our profile on campus.

What are ULKC’s chances of winning varsities for a 7th year in a row?

I believe we have a very good chance of winning, we’ve had a great group of first years join us this year who will be pushing for team positions which will hopefully increase our standard of paddling. Our sheer number of members is always an advantage in the long distance and the standard they are at is also very good. Having said that we have seen a great improvement in other colleges over the years due to the increased popularity of kayaking in Ireland and with talks of a change up of format in next year’s Intervarsities it is all to play for.

What advice would you give to people who want to start kayaking but aren’t sure if it is for them?

I would highly recommend you try it, I don’t know what it is but kayaking seems to attract some of the soundest, easiest going people I have ever met. You get to see Ireland from a completely different perspective on the river and you also get to go on amazing international trips to Wales and the Italian and Slovenian Alps.
Come down to any of our pool sessions Tuesday to Thursday 9:45 – 10:45pm, you can try out kayaking in a boat in a nice warm pool without the worry of falling out into the cold water. We also have weekly river trips either outback on the stretch of the Shannon that runs through the college or we head up to Castleconnel for a bit more fun on the river.
For anyone who might have come down in the first few weeks when the pool was packed and found it overwhelming I would say come down again now, the pool isn’t as busy so you will get your own boat and there will be people there to teach.
Coming into college I was dead set on continuing rugby however after I joined the Kayak Club I have never looked back and I can’t imagine what I would be doing right now if I hadn’t. It really is one of the best clubs in UL.