More medals for NZ kayakers in Europe

Author -  Karen Simpson

More medals for NZ kayakers in Europe

K4 win gold Hungary.jpgThe New Zealand kayaking team has made an emphatic statement at the second ICF World Cup of the season, heading home with four more medals from Szeged in Hungary.

While their haul of golds was halved from the first round in Portugal - two instead of four - the satisfaction was doubled as the team successfully handled a massive jump in competition.

Lisa Carrington, Aimee Fisher, Kayla Imrie and Caitlin Ryan won the K4 500m title for the second week in a row but this time had to overcome world and Olympic champions Hungary on their home waters, clocking 1min 30.754secs to win by 0.7secs.

“Every time we jump into that boat, I think we learn some more and we progress further,” Imrie said. “Last week as a crew was our first race together, and we just wanted to progress from that.”
Carrington, focusing on team boats this season, was pipped by Russian Elena Aniushina by just 0.085secs in her K1 500m final yesterday but earned a measure of revenge by combining with Caitlin Ryan to win the K2 500m overnight. 

They were more than 2secs clear of Aniushina and Kira Stepanova, with their Slovenian training partners Anja Osterman and Spela Ponomarenko third.

And Fisher added an equally-impressive silver in the K1 200m, an event Carrington has dominated for the last six years. The young Hawke’s Bay paddler was just 0.307secs behind Hungary’s Dóra Lucz (39.411) with Sarah Guyot (France) third in 39.942.

“After my races in the heat and the semis, I was aware that I’d be right in the mix but once you line up for a final, it’s a clean slate,” Fisher said. “I was really happy with how the race went, just focusing on the performance rather than the result, but to come away with a silver medal was an awesome way to start Sunday.”

There were other notable performances from the rest of the eight-strong Rene Olsen-coached team, with Imrie combining with Briar McLeely to finish fifth in the K2 200m final and under-23 paddlers McLeely, Kim Thompson, Britney Ford and Rebecca Cole finishing fifth in the B final of the K4 500m.
Thompson and Cole also finished eighth in the K2 500m B final, with Cole delighted by how much her young crew had absorbed in their first World Cup campaign.

“Seeing the level we need to work towards to be up there with the world’s best was really cool and actually realising that level was being set by my teammates was even cooler,” Cole said. “It’s been a really good opportunity to see how the open team works while they’re on tour. I particularly like how, as a team, we can be professionals while still constantly sounding like a group of friends on a girls’ tour around Europe!”

The team now faces a 40hr flight back to New Zealand, where they will start preparations for the under-23 world championships in Romania in July and the senior world championships in the Czech Republic in August.

Ryan is excited about the improvements they’ve made in the last two weeks and has no problem heading back home while the European season is in full swing.

“We’ll end on a high and continue it - continue working and doing everything we need to do to get better,” Ryan said. “It would be nice to race another race but we’ve got races coming and we just need to be patient.”

More medals for NZ kayakers in Europe

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