With women's canoe entered into the 2020 Olympics, Dartmouth's Hannah MacIntosh has already noticed that the competition is getting tougher.
It should come as no surprise that the new grand prize in women's sprint canoe has attracted a growing field of participants.
Women's canoe, long held out of the Olympics, is in for 2020 in Tokyo as a move to create gender equity in the sport.
Dartmouth's Hannah MacIntosh was a vocal proponent of the change, continuing to pursue excellence in the sport long before the gates opened to her own Olympic dream.
But, as the Senobe Aquatic Club athlete predicted years ago, creating the opening in the Olympics has brought out a new generation of competitors.
MacIntosh will join a number of Nova Scotians for competition starting Thursday at the world under-23 canoe-kayak championships in Romania. The world junior event is also being held at the same time.
She competed in the junior worlds in 2011, winning bronze the first time canoe was available for women, and 2013. This will be her third straight appearance at the under-23 worlds.
"The competition has improved every year since I've been racing internationally," she said from Romania. "More women are choosing canoe and the competition is getting faster and will continue to as we approach the 2020 Olympics."
She will compete this weekend in the C-2 500 metres.
"The C-2 500 is one of the Olympic distances, so it will be difficult to podium but that's the goal," MacIntosh said.
MacIntosh and Winnipeg's Nadya Crossman-Serb had a solid result in June at a World Cup event in Serbia. They were second in the C-2 200.
MacIntosh and Rowan Hardy-Kavanagh of Ottawa were fifth in the C-2 500.
Women's canoe events in the Olympics are C-1 200 and C-2 500. Kayak for women will be in K-1 200 and K-1, K-2 and K-4 500.
Men will have K-1 200, K-4 500 and K-1 and K-2 and C-1 and C-2 1,000.
Nine Nova Scotians were named to the Canadian team for the under-23 worlds earlier this summer. Five more are on the junior team.