Lisa Carrington celebrated a successful return to the victory podium on the final day of the NZCT New Zealand Canoe Sprint Nationals at Lake Karapiro on Sunday.
The six-time Olympic medallist claimed three gold medals in the Women’s Open K 200m events on Sunday, to go with her silver medal from the K1 500m on Saturday, when she was narrowly beaten by rival Aimee Fisher.
Thirty-two-year-old Carrington has really enjoyed the 2022 nationals, which was her first competitive event since the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021, where she also claimed three gold medals.
“I definitely had to wake up the competitiveness in me and get used to what it means to race hard and that type of thing, it’s been a really good regatta,” Carrington said.
“It’s just been really fun to get out there in the crew boats, so it has been nice finishing the weekend with the team.”
The reigning K1 200m Olympic champion was too strong for the field, claiming her first national title of the meet in 40.77 seconds, ahead of North Shore’s Alicia Hoskin (43.46) and Teneale Hatton (43.53) who battled it out for second place.
Carrington then teamed up with her nearest K1 200 rivals and Canoe Racing NZ team-mates Hoskin, Olivia Brett and Hatton to claim the K4 200m title in 37.45s, ahead of Canoe Racing NZ’s Samalulu Clifton, Lucy Matahaere, Greer Morley and Tara Vaughan, with the Poverty Bay combination of Genna Robertson, Julia Padrutt, Emma Brownlie and Emily Willock third.
Carrington paired up with two-time Olympian Hatton to win the Open Women’s K2 200 in a time of 41.75s, ahead of Canoe Racing NZ team-mates Brett and Hoskin second and Clifton and Morley third.
The national championships saw 239 events take place over three days, with more than half of them in the junior sections, which is encouraging for the future and depth of the sport in New Zealand.
“It’s amazing, so cool to see the community there. It has been such a long time since we have been able to get together and race, it is really cool, especially all the young girls,” Carrington said.
In an exciting Open Men’s K1 200m final, Arawa’s Ben Duffy won by the narrowest of margins, showing the increased level of depth being created in the Canoe Racing NZ ranks.
Duffy won by just 0.01s, in a time of 38.30s, with 1.1 second separating the first seven finishers.
Ashton Reiser was second in 38.31s, with Zack Ferkins claiming bronze in 38.67s, ahead of Hamish Legarth, Thomas MacGibbon, Kurtis Imrie and James Munro.
In the Men’s K2 200m Ben McCallum backed up his Open Men’s K1 1000 win, with a strong showing with Waitara team-mate Hamish Legarth to take the win from Jake Koekemoer and Thomas MacGibbon from Arawa, and Dan Brown and Leon Fuller (Eastern Bay).
Exciting prospect Greer Morley from North Shore, impressed in the 18-and-under Women’s K1 200m final to win gold in 47.81s, from Arawa’s Natasha MacGibbon (50.03) and Madison Garrett (50.93).
The final day of the regatta started with a bang as a crowd in their hundreds emerged on Lake Karapiro at the earlier than usual start time of 8:15am, to watch K1 500m Olympic champion Carrington, take on current world champion Fisher and two-time Olympian Hatton in a New Zealand trial.
The crowd was not disappointed, as Carrington reversed the result from Saturday’s Open Women’s K1 500m final in another nail-biting finish. This time Carrington finished strongly to take a 0.11 second victory in the clash of the titans, to send the trial for a spot at the World Championships in Canada in August to a decider to be raced on Thursday.
In other New Zealand trial races for World Championship and World Cup selection, McCallum from Waitara pipped Otago’s Munro in a close race, while in an exciting three-race series the Open Para K1 200, Scott Martlew won a closely fought battle 2-1 with Corbin Hart.
Christchurch’s Arawa Canoe Club topped the final medal count with 23 gold, 13 silver and 12 bronze medals, with North Shore Canoe Club second with (17G,16S,18B) and Hawke’s Bay Kayak Racing Club third with 12 golds, five silvers and eight bronzes.
For full results go to https://liveresults.co.nz/competition/433