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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Gig Harbor Hosts International Champions for a Three-Nation Exchange

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

Athletes from Arras, France; Québec, and Gig Harbor unite this week in the Puget Sound Photo By Mike Kitching

Gig Harbor Hosts International Champions

Now through October 16, the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team (GHCKRT) welcomes 23 athletes and coaches from Arras, France, and Québec, Canada. GHCKRT is eager to learn techniques and create friendships as part of the 10-day exchange. The much-anticipated visit marks the US reciprocation of the 2021 trip for 10 GHCKRT athletes who trained as part of a cultural exchange courtesy of the French government.

Eighteen international athletes will join GHCKRT and other paddlers at the Narrows Challenge competition in Gig Harbor at 1pm this Saturday, October 8. Founding Coach Alan Anderson will be joined by international coaches, Gig Harbor Mayor Tracie Markley, and other GHCKRT members to cheer on the race from a dock at the start/finish line at the mouth of Gig Harbor.

On Saturday, October 15, GHCKRT will be joined by the exchange program athletes for informal, 130m races from 8am to noon at Skansie Park in Gig Harbor.

At 5:30pm on Monday, October 10, the international athletes will join Gig Harbor Mayor Markley in a ceremony at City Hall to recognize GHCKRT as ninth annual national champions, marked most recently at the ACA 2022 USA Canoe & Kayak Spring National Championships in August.

In addition, the exchange participants will experience local and regional culture and venues, including exploring the Harbor History Museum and hiking in the Olympics.

GHCKRT head coach Alyson Mrozinski shares, “We’re thrilled to welcome our fellow athletes from France and Canada to Puget Sound and our harbor for cross-training, cultural exchange, fun, and new friendships. We hope that it furthers interest and developmental growth for canoe and kayak sprint competition in the US.”

GHCKRT would like to recognize team parent and International Exchange Coordinator volunteer Julia Ciaccio, whose unwavering commitment to cultural exchange made this experience possible. The team also recognizes the Gig Harbor Midday Rotary Club and the small businesses and organizations of Gig Harbor for their support. To find out more about the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team, visit or

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