by Rick Bellows
     GCA member John Pinyerd successfully defended his world championship at the 2008 Wildwater Championships, held June 1-8 in Ivrea, Italy. Pinyerd, who lives in Marietta, won the C1 men’s masters division, successfully defending the world championship he won in 2006 in the Czech Republic. Pinyerd’s winning time was 8:53.10, more than half a minute faster than the runner-up, Dario Grossi of Italy, at 9:25.30. American Michael Harris finished third in the masters division in 9:29. “It was a lot of fun,” Pinyerd said. “I was feeling a little pressure to win the world championship for a second time.The first time, I was just happy to be there, but now I was the favorite and there was more pressure the second time with a world championship to defend. But I knew I had trained hard and I was ready for it and I decided to just have fun with it.
Between his world championships, Pinyerd placed first in the men’s masters C2 (doubles) and second in C1 at the 2007 national championships in Massachusetts and won the U.S. team trials in April on the Cheat River in Virginia. “When I won the team trials, I knew I was ready to get back and try to win another world championship and started to buckle down in my training,” Pinyerd said. “The success I had at the team trials on the Cheat River really boosted my confidence.”Pinyerd plans to compete in both the C1 and C2 classes at the August U.S. Nationals on the Deerfield River in Massachusetts. He also plans to seek a third straight world championship at the Wildwater World Championships in 2010. 
     In addition to his own success, Pinyerd enjoyed the fine performance of his protege, 18- year-old Tierney O’Sullivan of Roswell, who finished 26th the KI (kayak) women’s division. O’Sullivan, who is coached by Pinyerd, won the U.S. Nationals in her division. She plans to attend UGA this fall.
      Contrary to Georgia, the problem in Italy was too much water. Flooding caused the Masters’ division races to be rescheduled and eventually to be run on a flatter alternate course. The Sprint race was run on the flooded course, resulting in a number of eddy outs, flips and swims and in many competitors being unable to finish. More pictures from the World Championships are at