Easter saw the Slalom Squad travel to training camps in England and Scotland where they were met for the second year running by fantastic weather conditions.
Five members of the Talent Squad, Jake Cochrane, Elliott Davidson, Kirsten Eatock, Cara Lee and Ali McCreery, met Head Coach, Matt McKnight at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham for three days of whitewater training, before three of the group (Jake, Ali and Elliott) headed off to Brazil for the Junior and Under 23 Canoe Slalom World Championships.
The athletes found themselves working hard on difficult courses and big water, pushing skills to the limit and thereby developing technical ability, tenacity and team spirit.
A few days a later, three athletes (Patrick Creber, Keira Davidson and Kirsten Eatock) and Matt converged on Grandtully on the River Tay in Perthshire, in the run-up to the Division 1 race and Scottish Leg of the Pan-Celtic Cup, the weekend following Easter. Again Matt encouraged and stretched the athletes, helping them to develop their skills, learning to use the water and master the course.
With all of the athletes now racing regularly on Grade 3/4 water, training camps such as these are enormously important in giving us the experience of white water needed to be able to race on it and which we can’t get in Northern Ireland and it is truly remarkable the degree of progress made by each of the athletes in the space of a few days.
Write up by Kirsten Eatock