Lisa and Ashton at the double

Lisa Carrington claimed a top-quality victory against a high-class field in the final of the open women’s K1 500m on the concluding day of the 2020 NZCT New Zealand Canoe Sprint Championships on Lake Karapiro.

In near perfect conditions, Lisa was pushed every inch of the way by her fellow New Zealand squad members Caitlin Ryan and Aimee Fisher but ultimately prevailed to add the K1 500m crown to the K1 200m title she snared on Friday.

Lisa, the reigning world champion in both events, clocked an impressive mark of 1.48.23 – a little under two seconds shy of the world best time – to retain her national crown.

In an impressive demonstration of the depth in New Zealand female paddling, Caitlin earned silver in 1:50.42 with Aimee Fisher (1:52.54) completing the podium positions. Kayla Imrie, the other member of last year’s World Cup gold medal-winning K4 500m crew, placed fourth in 1:56.37.

Lisa, who was competing in a first regatta of the year on the road to the Tokyo Olympics, said of winning the national K1 500m title: “It is never easy. The 500m is always a tough race. You have to be okay with the hurt and try to hang in there. It is nice to able to do what I’ve done in training.”

She was also delighted at the depth of New Zealand women’s elite squad.

“It is amazing,” she added. “Having such strong paddlers definitely makes these events much harder. I can’t just turn up and produce a sub-par performance. I needed to come here and race my best. It is fantastic to have such good quality out there and ultimately it is good practise for competing at World Championships and Olympic Games.” 

Caitlin was delighted to add K1 500m silver to the K1 200m bronze she won on Friday and was more than satisfied with her overall effort across the three-day regatta.

“I’m really happy,” she added. “There is always stress and pressure competing on home turf at nationals, particularly in an Olympic year. The aim was to get as close to the race plan as possible, it was not perfect but I’m getting there. 

“The depth of the field is exciting for the future. Everyone is getting faster, which is great for the sport and the female programme.”

Ashton Reiser capped a successful national championships by adding the men’s K1 500m title to the K1 200m gold medal he banked two days ago.

The North Shore paddler, who underwent double arm surgery only six months ago, finished fifth in the K1 1000m on Saturday, but is more comfortable competing over the shorter distances.

In a highly-competitive final he produced a strong, late surge to take him to the title in 1:43.37 – 0.58 clear of silver medallist, Zach Ferkins (Poverty Bay) – the national K1 1000m champion.

Hamish Legarth (Hawkes Bay) added K1 500m bronze to the K1 1000m bronze he plundered yesterday – holding off his fellow NZ squad member, Ben Duffy (Arawa) by just 0.16 in a time of 1:44.24. 

“The 200m, 500m, the shorter, faster distances is what I love,” he explains. “I just love paddling a kayak as fast as I can. 

“We’ve worked hard on developing our team culture the past few years and the goal is to catch up to the women’s squad. We are slowly getting there and that is a big credit to our coaches.”

In the day’s other men’s open final, Ben Duffy and Hamish Legarth teamed up with Jake Koekemoer and Ethan Moore for the Arawa club to clinch an emphatic victory in the men’s K4 500m final. The quartet clocked 1:30.81 to finish comfortable clear of a composite Wanganui team containing Ashton Reiser, who crossed the line in 1:33.07.

Candidate for race of the day came in a captivating open women’s K4 500m final as North Shore defeated a Poverty Bay quartet by just 0.03 in a time of 1:44.99.

In the women’s under-18 division, Pieta Luthi grabbed her fifth gold medal of the regatta competing alongside Mia Roadley in the women’s K2 500m but the Arawa paddler was denied a sixth gold medal in the K1 500m as she had to settle for bronze behind Julia Padrutt (2:04.71) of the Waitara club.

In the women’s U16 division, Madison Garrett (Arawa) took home a swag of five gold medals back to the South Island completing her stunning regatta with victory from Genna Robertson (Poverty Bay) in the K1 500m event.

The Cook Islands took a brace of gold medal in the U16 men’s K4 500m and in the U14 women’s K1 500m.

Angus Sewell (Wanganui) also completed a successful championships adding the U14 K1 500m title to the U14 K1 200m crown and U16 K2 500m titles he snared on previous days.

Full results of the 2020 NZCT New Zealand Canoe Sprint Championships can be found via our App (find Canoe NZ in the Play Store – free to download). Or check the Live Results Website.

Images: Vera Bucsu 

Article: Steve Landells