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Sunday, 19 February 2017
Aimee Fisher has further cemented her place as Lisa Carrington’s heir apparent after a commanding performance at the New Zealand canoe racing championships at Lake Karapiro.
The 22-year-old Hawke’s Bay paddler capitalised on Carrington’s absence from individual boats at the three-day regatta by winning the K1 200 and 500m double.
Fisher’s reward is likely to be a spot racing alongside the world and Olympic champion on the ICF World Cup series this year, although she was more delighted with the mental breakthrough that she made with her twin wins.
“Coming into this weekend, my only goal was to be brave in the 500m and that’s the first time I’ve ever managed to do it in a race,” Fisher said, after heading off Olympic K4 teammate Caitlin Ryan (North Shore) by 0.80secs in the final. “Every other time, I’d chicken out but I’ve done a couple of 500s at training where I’d been getting the hang of it, being aggressive off the line. To do that in race conditions, that was the real test. Caitlin and I had a great battle in the first half of the race and I managed to bring it home.”
Fisher admitted she was terrified of the 500m, knowing vividly the incredible toll it takes, but she was bolstered by support from her Hawke’s Bay club.
“You just paddle into this darkness and everything hurts - you can nearly taste blood when you’re paddling and your muscles have been scorched by lactic acid. “Coming through the 200m, I heard all these kids and when you’ve got kids running down the side of the bank cheering your name, you’ve got to rise. That gave me a lot of courage and I charged home.”
Ryan also finished second to Fisher in Friday’s K1 200m and the two paddlers are likely to pair up as a K2 combination in Europe this season.Carrington didn’t go home empty handed, collecting four golds in various team boats, alongside retiring Eastern Bay teammate Jaimee Lovett, another member of the Rio K4 boat.
It was a sweet way for Lovett to finish, continuing her record of winning medals at all 12 national championships she’s attended.
“It was a nice way to finish things, especially coming in without any pressure and no expectation of performing,” Lovett said. “Just getting out there and enjoying the sport for what it is, was really cool and coming away with some medals was just as good.”
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