Lisa Carrington lit up day two of the 2023 NZCT New Zealand & Oceania Canoe Sprint Championships and Asia Pacific Cup to reclaim the national women’s K1 500m title and secure a spot on the New Zealand team in the blue riband event at the World Championships later this year.
In another demonstration of her skills and power in the boat, Lisa followed up her success in the heats yesterday to defeat 2021 World K1 500m champion Aimee Fisher in the final with another awe-inspiring performance.
Victory today ensured the five-time Olympic champion claimed the best-of-three selection series 2-0 to bank the New Zealand boat (International Canoe Federation rules state one boat per nation per event) in the women’s K1 500m at the 2023 World Championships in Duisburg in August.
Lisa, who took out the first race of the series by a 2.30 second margin, once again made a blistering start and quickly claimed an early advantage.
The reigning World and Olympic champion for the distance has proved year on year an absolute master on water combining unmatchable speed and endurance and by the midway mark she had further stretched her lead.
Aimee unleashed a strong late surge but Dame Lisa would not be surpassed – stopping the clock in 1:48.04 – a dazzling time given the slight headwind.
Aimee, 28, produced another world-class paddle to take second in 1:49.93 but had to concede defeat to the five-time Olympic champion. Alicia Hoskin (North Shore) clinched the Oceania and New Zealand bronze medal in a time of 1:56.72.
Also posting sub-two-minute clockings in fourth and fifth were 2022 World Ocean Racing silver medallist Danielle McKenzie (1:58.59), who impressed on her national debut, and Olivia Brett (1:59.86).
Lisa was elated with her performance at Lake Karapiro and said: “Dealing with that nerves and pressure is sometimes tough, so for me it was about having good performances and just practising (in racing) what I’ve done in training.
“I’m proud of doing two really hot races consecutively, and having the confidence to do that. Racing Aimee is tough, you have to be able to perform at your best the whole time which does not allow for complacency. Having competition like her (Aimee) helps raise your level.”
An understandably disappointed Aimee was proud of how she bounced back today to perform better than in the heats on Friday.
“I felt a lot of emotions after the race (on Friday) because I got it all wrong. For a moment I was worried I couldn’t get back up, but I managed to reset and had some good perspective around it. I tried to race my race but it wasn’t enough and I lost to the better paddler today.”
Dame Lisa later returned to the lake and eased through to the final of the open women’s K1 200m clocking a time 43.73 to cruise to victory in heat one. Also earning safe passage into the final at 10.20am on Sunday were Olivia Brett (45.62) and Alicia Hoskin (44.91), who banked top spot in heats two and three, respectively.
Kurtis Imrie maintained his excellent regatta by regaining his national K1 500m to reaffirm his status as the man to beat domestically in this event.
In a highly competitive final, the 27-year-old Mana paddler – who yesterday (Friday) took gold in the open men’s K2 500m and K4 500m – repelled a strong challenge from Hamish Legarth (Hawke’s Bay) to cross the line in 1:53.36 and strike gold by a victory margin of 0.53.
In a tight battle for bronze, Max Brown (Whanganui) prevailed by 0.14 from Ashton Reiser (North Shore) in a time of 1:55.21. Ben Duffy (Arawa) clocked 1:55.74 to further underline the competitive nature of a quality final.
Imrie, who won this title in 2018, 2019 and 2021, said: “It is pretty special to win the 500m. I like the distance, it is my preferred discipline, a bit of speed, a bit of endurance. Last year was a tough one. I didn’t manage to put it together and after the (Tokyo Olympic) Games I struggled for motivation to put it together. But after last season I got my mojo back.
“The conditions were quite challenging, it was a bit of a dog fight rather than a clean race. Hamish (Legarth) was right up there at 200m and he came back at me. It is special to win this title because so many of the boys are thriving. With the depth we currently have it means more (to win this title) because you have to fight every inch.”
Imrie had to settle for silver competing alongside Ashton Reiser in a compelling final of the open men’s K2 200m which was taken out for Hamish Legarth and Ben Duffy by a margin of just 0.05. The gold medal winning duo representing Hawkes Bay stopped the clock in 35.16 with Legarth taking a second successive title in this event after taking top spot 12 months ago alongside Ben McCallum.
Australian duo Luke Egger and Bailey Clues took out the Oceania bronze in 35.56.
Alicia Hoskin and Tara Vaughan formed one half of the New Zealand women’s K4 crew at the 2022 World Championships and today the pair teamed up to take out the national and Oceania women’s K2 500m title with an eye-catching display.
The North Shore duo produced a commanding performance to stop the clock in 1:59.28 to finish clear of Oceania silver medallists – Charli Smyth and Jasmine Locke from Australia (2:01.78). Olivia Brett and Samalulu Clifton (North Shore) crossed the line in third to take New Zealand silver and Oceania bronze medals in a time of 2:03.01. National bronze was snagged by Lucy Matehaere and Julia Padrutt (Waitara) – a further 0.49 back.
Alicia said of the victory: “It is pretty cool. We’ve been doing quite a lot of training in the K2, so it is nice to put together a decent race. I’m proud of our little team. Tara is a great girl to paddle with – heaps of fun.”
On why the combination works Tara added: “I’m not sure. I’ve been working on my team boat skills a lot recently because I needed to. Finally I have something to work on.”
The North Shore quartet of Greer Morley, Brooklyn Saunders, Christy Tate and Danielle McKenzie claimed a convincing victory in the open women’s K4 in a time of 39.91. Poverty Bay were 2.02 further back in silver with the Australian crew (42.30) crossing the line in third.
The Para canoeists served up some compelling racing with the international duo of Corbin Hart (KL3) and Scott Martlew (KL2) locked in a pair of absorbing heat races today.
In race one of the open Paracanoe K1 200m, Hart edged the fast-finishing Martlew by just 0.11, clocking a time of 46.67.
However, in race two Martlew, the 2022 World KL2 bronze medallist, exacted revenge – winning in a time of 44.61 – 0.88 clear of Hart. The duo alongside the other competing Para canoeists here at Lake Karapiro – Oliver Emery and Finn Murphy – will fight it out in the medal race tomorrow (Sunday) at 10.28am.
New Zealand athletes performed with pride in the Asia Pacific Cup events winning four gold medals in the K1 events.
Leading the way in the men’s K1 500m was Arawa powerhouse Thomas MacGibbon (Arawa) who produced a dominant display to take gold in 1:57.57 ahead of Aussie duo Will Spencer (2:00.17) and Bailey Clues (2:02.01) – who took the minor medals.
Kiwi athletes were to the fore in the men’s and women’s K1 500m finals in the Asia Pacific Cup with Kaiha Gilbertson (North Shore) in 1:51.83 taking a thrilling victory from Aussie pair Ziah Peisker (1:52.53) and Ziko Vesely (1:53.34) in the former event and Greer Morley (North Shore) led a New Zealand one-two from Natasha MacGibbon – sister of Thomas – (2:06.10) in the latter.
It was a sweet victory for Greer, who on the back of this success secured a spot for New Zealand in the U18 women’s K1 500m at the World Junior & U23 Championships in Italy in July.
Dylan Monk, who claimed a golden treble on day one of the NZCT New Zealand & Oceania Canoe Sprint Championships, added more gold to his collection with an impressive victory in the U16 K1 500m Asia Pacific Cup race. The Arawa paddler clocked 1:51.83 to finish 1.44 clear of Titus Ching of Singapore. New Zealand also grabbed bronze courtesy of Matt McKendry of Poverty Bay (1:55.02). Monk later claimed the national U18 K2 200m title alongside Tiago Chamberlain and an Oceania bronze behind the Australian paddlers.
The North Shore club maintained their pre-eminence in the masters divisions as the quartet of Craig Simpkins, Garth Spencer, Andy Logue and Vaughan Reed captured the K4 500m masters title. Meanwhile, Nenni Disse of North Shore completed the women’s masters K1 200m and K1 500m double.
Gus Kinsella of Poverty Bay and Greer Hambleton enjoyed a memorable day in the men’s and women’s U12 division as the pair secured the men’s K1 100m and 500m double in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively.