Durango's Art Zemach - Dr. Art Zemach - lifted himself out of his kayak and stepped onto the riverbank.
The raging Animas River swiftly rolled past as he shouldered his boat, collected his paddle and scrambled up the bank.
A wry smile of satisfaction creased his face as he carried his equipment back to the start area at the north end of Durango's Whitewater Park.
"I think the river is peaking this weekend," Zemach said after completing one of his runs on the runoff-swollen Animas River during the USA Canoe/Kayak Senior Team Trials in Durango.
"That makes for a fun and challenging course," the Durango physician and erstwhile slalom kayak competitor said.
Zemach continued along the pathway that parallels the Animas River through the famed Smelter Rapid. He walked past U.S. Olympian Benn Fraker. And U.S. Olympian Casey Eichfeld.
He walked past the ever-popular sushi booth.
Other Olympians - Brett Heyl, Scott Parsons, Rick Powell and Eric Jackson - prepped their boats for the day's second run.
"It's pretty exciting (to race against Olympians)," Zemach said, obviously pleased to have a chance to compete in the U.S. slalom trials on his home waters.
"I'm happy that I can come out and paddle with them," he said of the unprecedented weekend gathering of kayak and canoe Olympians in Durango.
Zemach said that for him and many other Durango paddlers, there's one reason they can paddle boats in a roaring 5,500 cfs Animas River, in competition like the national team trials last weekend.
"One of the fortunate things we have in Durango is John Brennan," Zemach said of the Durango Whitewater guru and kayaking legend.
"John's special talent is telling each paddler what they need to hear. He helps all ages. Everyone," Zemach said, emphatically.
He described Brennan's uncanny ability to help each kayaker with specific, individual insights.
"It's effective for kids and effective for a 47-year-old father of three," said Zemach, a 47-year-old father of three.
Durango Whitewater kayakers and canoe paddlers showcased their whitewater slalom skills all weekend alongside the Olympic veterans at the three-day team trials on the Animas River in Durango.
Young boaters like 16-year-old Zach "Bug" Lokken of Durango surfed to the national spotlight.
The Durango local canoe paddler finished sixth in the selection standings and impressed the likes of Fraker, the Atlanta C1 Olympian who dominated over the weekend and led the national team selections.
Fraker, Eichfeld (Pennsylvania) and Jeff Larimer (Atlanta) also rode out of Durango as members of the national canoe slalom singles team.
They'll head to Europe for World Cup events and then to Spain for the World Championships in the fall.
Fraker joined Scott Parsons (Washington, D.C.) on the doubles canoe team.
Heyl (Utah), Scott Mann (North Carolina) and Aaron Mann (Washington, D.C., no relation) were named to the national kayak slalom team, based on their finishes on the Animas River.
Carolyn Peterson, Micki Reeves and Hailey Thompson were designated for the U.S. women's kayak team.