The following report was provided by CANI Slalom Squad member Alistair McCreery on his experiences during the Premier Division race in Cardiff at the beginning of May.
The 2nd May saw premier division race 5 come to Cardiff. Several CANI talent squad members were on the start line including Elliott Davidson, Kirsten Eatock and Alistair McCreery. There were 40 minute practice sessions throughout the morning. It was good to get back on a white-water course again and get a feel for how the boat was running. Cardiff is a very tight course, and quite different to some of the wider more open courses we would be used to racing on. Cardiff was the first white-water course I ever paddled on when I was starting out in canoe slalom. From what I can remember the camp was a rather wet one and so it was nice being able to get on the water with a bit more confidence than the last time I had been there!
The race would be run in a championship format with the top 15 from first runs going straight through to the final and the top 5 from second runs also progressing. For the women’s K1 this was 10 and 5. The course that was set was quite open, with a few trickier moves towards the bottom. The weather was miserable making the prospect of progressing after first runs and not having to do a second run very attractive!
Elliott and I both managed to make the finals after first runs, I was sitting in 11th position. I felt that my run was good, the boat flowed nicely however there was still some time to be made around the bottom of the course where I had dropped low into some of the upstreams. Having made it through the waiting began, as finals weren’t until late in the evening we had the whole afternoon to rest and recover, and maybe even get some schoolwork done for once!
Kirsten’s first run showed good potential, she managed well paddling a division above her ranking, however penalties let her down. From what I had seen of her practice session she had much more to give in her second run! She cleaned up a lot on her second run and managed to take two seconds of her overall time. It was another great weekend gaining race experience at premier level which will be useful in the future
This was my first experience of racing in a final in any event. Although I wanted to race as well as I could I was also determined to go out and enjoy racing at that level. My run time was similar to my first run with nice smooth paddling, especially at the top of the course, however as I got further down the course my discipline started to go and I picked up several penalties which cost me. Elliott’s run followed a similar story with some great paddling however a mistake at the bottom of the course proved costly. We finished in 19th and 20th place respectively. 19th is by far my best result in prem and I came away from the weekend very encouraged.
There is one more premier race this coming weekend (21st May) and then there is a break until September however look out for Kirsten racing in Div 1 and hopefully joining us in the premier division by the end of the season!