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Wednesday, 20 May 2015
Lovett, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie stunned their international rivals with a gutsy paddle in the K4 500m at Montemor-o-Velho, spear-heading a five-medal haul from the Kiwi team.
There's no time to bask, however, with the second world cup beginning on Friday in Duisburg, Germany, bolstered by a number of European crews who opted to skip Portugal.
"There will definitely be more crews going into Duisburg but it will be the same again for us," Lovett said. "World cups are all about learning and trying to gel better together as a crew, as well as just getting used to racing against other boats - we don't get that opportunity in New Zealand."
Part of that learning will be a juggle in the women's K2, following on from Ryan and Fisher's shock silver medal in the 500m final. Ryan and Lovett will now combine for that distance in Germany, with Fisher and Imrie giving the K2 200m a nudge. Despite the success in the smaller boat in Portugal, coach Rene Olsen is using the K2 combinations purely as a way of getting his crew more racing experience and settling nerves, never veering from the over-riding K4 goals.
World and Olympic champion Lisa Carrington, who collected the K1 200-500m double in Portugal, is also tweaking her race plan in Germany, opting to concentrate solely on the longer distance this weekend. With the third world cup in Copenhagen a week later, Carrington is conscious of keeping fresh.
"Having three regattas in three weeks is pretty tough and it's good to break it up a little bit," Carrington said. "This way I'll save a little bit of energy and focus on the 500m, which is the event that I get a lot of experience out of racing."
Carrington's main 500m rival, Hungarian world champion Danuta Kozak, will again be missing but longer 500m race will be first on Carrington's programme this week but German Franziska Eber, South African Bridgette Hartley and Teresa Portela (Portugal) will all provide stiff competition.
"There were a few people missing last week but you always have to prepare to go fast, no matter what," Carrington added. "You always need to keep a consistent approach, no matter who you're racing and it comes down to personal performance."
Personal performances will also be high priorities for K1 men's paddlers Scott Bicknell (200m) and Marty McDowell (500m and 1000m), after excellent starts to the international season in Portugal. Bicknell won the B final of the sprint, cracking the 35sec barrier for the first time in clocking 34.976secs, while McDowell finished seventh in the A final of the 1000m and picked up a surprise bronze in the non-Olympic 500m final.
They were confidence-boosting performances from the pair, with McDowell relishing the chance to learn more in Germany."Portugal was a great way to ease into it, with some of the top guys missing, and it was good to get some racing in but the competition in Germany is going to be another step up," McDowell said. "It's going to be a lot harder and I'll have to paddle a little bit better than I did last weekend but if I can make that A final again, I'll be stoked."
All seven New Zealand paddlers will be in action on Friday, with finals spread over Saturday and Sunday. Carrington and McDowell will both stay on for the third world cup and Bicknell will stay on to train in Europe, while the K4 crew will come home.
SKY pop up channel 57 will have coverage of World Cup 2 tomorrow (Saturday) from 8.50pm NZ time.
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