Kiwi K4 crew end successful campaign

Author -  Karen Simpson

The New Zealand K4 crew of (from left) Jaimee Lovett, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie return home this week after a successful world cup campaign in Europe. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media

Kiwi K4 crew end successful campaign

The New Zealand K4 crew of (from left) Jaimee Lovett, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie return home this week after a successful world cup campaign in Europe. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media K4 training.jpg
There was no final-day medal, just immense satisfaction from the New Zealand women's K4 kayaking crew at the world cup in Germany overnight.

A rough start put the crew of Jaimee Lovett, Aimee Fisher, Caitlin Ryan and Kayla Imrie out of medal contention but they fought back strongly to finish fifth in the K4 500m final, behind Belarus, Poland, Germany and Australia.

The German round was a major step up in quality from last week's world cup in Portugal, where the rookie Kiwi K4 crew collected gold, with only the world champion Hungarian crew and the Russian crew missing and Ryan summed up the mood of her proud quartet.
"We didn't know how this world cup would go but we had expectations as a team of how much we wanted to learn and fifth place was just a bonus," Ryan said. "If we'd been offered a fifth-placed finish before the start of the world cups, we would've really jumped at it."

The K4 crew return home this week, while New Zealand teammates Lisa Carrington and Marty McDowell head to the third world cup in Denmark this weekend and K1 200m paddler Scott Bicknelll remains in Europe to train.

Lovett, Ryan, Fisher and Imrie have only been training together for six months, following the appointment of team coach René Olsen by Canoe Racing New Zealand, and have spent much of that time building strength to power their boat through the middle stages of the 500m distance.

"Rene has taught us so much and it's given us so much confidence and we've also learned a lot from this trip," Ryan said. "We've mostly learned about trust - about trusting ourselves and trusting our team and trusting the process and our coach. That's also given us the trust that we're definitely heading in the right direction."

The crew ended their campaign with three medals - the K4 gold last week, a K2 500m silver from Ryan and Fisher and a K2 200m bronze from Imrie and Fisher on Saturday, with Olsen mixing things up to gain the maximum benefit from the short international campaign.

"All the experimenting with the K2 crews on Friday and Saturday took the sharpness out of the K4 performance - if we'd taken the safe road and just did the same racing as last week, we probably would've been in the mix for a medal again," Olsen said. "But racing the way we did gave us a lot of learning about where we are and what we need to work on ahead of the world champs."

Their results mean that the K4 is a virtual certainty to be selected for August's world championships, where they'll have a great chance of qualifying a boat for next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. McDowell and Bicknell have also shown sharp improvement on the world cup circuit, while world and Olympic champion Carrington has continued her lofty standards with three gold medals in the last fortnight.

All of which is a massive shot in the arm for CRNZ, with chief executive Mark Weatherall delighted with the investment his organisation and High Performance Sport New Zealand have made.  "We're incredibly excited by our performances over the last two weeks and the K4 crew in particular has made huge strides," Weatherall said. "Germany was much closer to what we'd expect at world championship level and if this is what they can achieve after just six months of dedicated training, we're really looking forward to seeing where they are by the time the Rio Olympics roll around."

So are Ryan and her teammates, although they're well aware the hard work is only just beginning.  "Individually, we've all got things to work on and we'll keep building our strength and bringing the boat together even more," she said. "We're definitely motivated and very, very excited but it's back to training and back to some hard work."


Kiwi K4 crew end successful campaign

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