BEAVERCREEK — He had so much fun winning one championship with his dad, Dylan Chard wanted to do it again.
And so after long hours of training and workouts during the offseason, Dylan and his father, Mike Chard, went back to Fairport Harbor on the Grand River, and won yet again in the annual U.S. Canoe Association Ohio State Canoe and Kayak Championships.
The Chard duo claimed the K-2 Men’s Recreation 5-mile canoe paddling competition in 2017. Despite high winds, the Beavercreek pair finished in a time of 1:33.58 to claim the win.
This time around, the Chards used the same recreation division boat but in the K-2 Men’s Open 5-mile category.
“We’re still sailing high after recording that win together,” Mike, 65, said via phone Aug. 8. “When you get these things, especially at my age, man! You just cherish the moments.”
Dylan turned 21 just one week before the Ohio Championships. That changed the Chard’s entry category for the 2018 race to an all-men (21 and over) racing division.
Event organizers Joe and Ann Krizman hosted the event with heavy hearts. Their daughter, Abby, had passed away just the previous month. Dylan Chard has Down Syndrome, and was hoping to meet Abby, who battled autism, at the state championship meet.
As a token of their respect for the Krizman family, the Chard father and son raised their arms and pointed to Heaven as they crossed the finish line of the 5.2-mile men’s event.
“We wanted to do something to recognize Abby, and to let her know that we were thinking of her at the race,” Mike Chard said. “We dedicated our race win to her. And one of her rubberized figurines that she collected even rode in the boat with us.”
The Chards battled high water this time on the Grand Lake course just off the coast of Lake Erie, finishing in a time of 1:35.52.
Dylan, a longtime Kettering Alter football fan and good friend of Knights coach Ed Domsitz, urged his dad to go for a repeat of a state championship ‘just like the Alter football team’ had done in 2008 and 2009.
With financial backing from the Atlanta-based Sweetwater Brewing Company, along with local support from Great Miami Outfitters, the Chards set about earning the repeat.
“Dylan did a great job of pushing us both for this second title,” Mike said. “His paddling abilities improved tremendously over last season. And at the Cowan Lake event, just a week before the state championships, I think Dylan found another gear in his arsenal of strokes. I’ve never had a partner who forced me to try and keep up with them like Dylan. His improvement and drive is what got us this second title.”
To commemorate their back-to-back feat, the Chards posed back-to-back in their Sweetwater T-shirts with their state champion gold medals.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.