It’s been two weeks since the Kiwi team finished in an impressive 5th equal on the medal table at the first international World Cup of the season in Szeged, Hungary. General Manager of Performance, Nathan Luce has reflected on the teams stellar performance and given us the inside word on the racing and how the team are placed with 13 weeks left until the World Champs in Duisburg, Germany where our athletes and crews will be vying to qualify boats for the Paris Olympics.
“We knew going into the Szeged World Cup that all our crews had an excellent preparation camp in Szolnok. A combination of good weather, training conditions and facilities along with a great sense of camaraderie and teamwork ensured that we were well prepared to lay down some world class performances.
Having an integrated team environment leading into Szeged highlights the example of strength in numbers. All athletes and staff were there to support each other, no matter what the discipline. It’s humbling to be a part of such a strong team of good humans who want the best for each other.
This World Cup, was one of the more competitive and attended in the sport’s history. This was a proper test to see where our crews stood heading into the Olympic qualifying year.
To have New Zealand crews qualify for 9 x A Finals while winning 5 medals in Olympic and Paralympic distances was an outstanding way to kick off our international season of racing.
Scott Martlew kicked off the medal winning spree by taking a silver in the KL2 200m event. This was an outstanding race considering the field has become even tighter since Tokyo. Scott also came 8th in the VL3 200m, making the A final was a big achievement.
Corbin backed up his 5th place from last year’s World Champs with another 5th in the KL3 200m event. Peter Cowan was definitely our most improved para athlete winner by placing 4th in the VL3 200m class. Only .38 off the bronze, which is a massive improvement from his 8th place last year at Worlds.
Our women’s program once again rose to the occasion and led the team with 4 medals across the 3 Olympic distances. Our women’s K4 composed of Lisa Carrington, Alicia Hoskin, Olivia Brett and Tara Vaughan won a fabulous bronze in a tight race between themselves, the Chinese and Spanish crews. The result was impressive considering the challenging cross-wind conditions they faced out in lane 7.
Lisa Carrington and Aimee Fisher followed up the next day with incredible gold and silver medals in the women’s K1 500m. Lisa led from tape to tape with Aimee making a late charge to the finish.
Lisa Carrington and Alicia Hoskin finished the medal winning haul by smashing out a clear victory in the women’s K2 500m.
Our men’s K4 had an outstanding regatta in what was the tightest field I’ve seen in years. Our men showed that they are a crew to be reckoned with by placing a narrow 5th in their semi-final (.24 off the A Final). They’ll be motivated for Olympic qualification this August and will take their 14th ranking from Szeged as a confidence builder leading into Duisburg World Championships.
Overall, I would argue that this was one of New Zealand’s best ever World Cups in Olympic and Paralympic distances considering how many countries and entries were in Szeged. While the results were fantastic at this stage of the season, our athletes and coaches are well aware that there is still plenty of work to do leading into Duisburg.
The rest of the world will be motivated to close the gaps, so we’ll need to keep our feet on the ground and continue to prepare at the highest level for the next 13 weeks leading into the World Champs”, Nathan Luce, General Manager of Performance.
The World Championships in Duisburg Germany are on 23 – 27 August. This will be the first opportunity for New Zealand to qualify boats for Paris Olympics 26 July – 11 August 2024. Depending on the results from this qualifying event the second opportunity will be the Oceania Championships in Sydney, Australia 14 – 18 February 2024. More Paddle to Paris coverage coming in June.