This year the Irish Canoe Slalom team selection series takes place over two legs, the first leg was at the sluice weir in Dublin and the second was held in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia. In the lead up to the race Jake Cochrane, Alistair McCreery and Eoin Teague traveled from Nottingham to Slovakia the week before while Talent Coach Matt McKnight, Sean McLarnon and Tiernan Gribbin left Dublin and met them in Liptovsky. This week of training prior to the race was focused on getting to know the course and trying as many moves as possible throughout the course.
Saturday arrived and after watching demos runs it was time to get the second part of the selection series underway. With the first run of the day counting as a qualification run for either Final A or B in the afternoon it was critical to get a good first run down and get into Final A. Overall everyone raced well in the first run except for Tiernan who at the bottom of his run who unfortunately broke his paddle near the bottom of the course. Over lunch the athletes did video review before coming out to compete in the finals, with an international field including a number of Olympians from Rio it provided some tight racing. At the end of Day 1 Jake finished in 7th in the A Final, Sean finished 31st in the B Final, Eoin finished 11th in the A Final, Ali finished 29th in the A final, Elliott Davidson finished 1st in the B Final, Tiernan finished 22nd in the B Final and Kiera Davidson finished 9th in the B Final.
Overnight the course was changed in preparation for Sunday’s racing and athletes went home to relax and refuel ahead of another busy day of racing. Athletes awoke to a snowy start with near freezing temperatures it would be a testing day for all involved. The format remained the same as Saturday with first run counting as a qualification run for either Final A or B. With such tight margins within the selection series athletes knew they had to put everything on the line which made for some spectacular racing. At the end of Day 2 Jake finished in 7th in the B Final, Sean finished 26th in the B Final, Eoin finished 16th in the A Final, Ali finished 19th in the A final, Elliott Davidson finished 12th in the A Final, Tiernan finished 9th in the B Final and Kiera Davidson finished 20th in the A Final.
All the athletes put in massive performances over the whole selection series and on behalf of CANI we would like to congratulate them all. Athletes are now awaiting confirmation from Irish Canoe Slalom of who has been officially selected to represent Ireland this year, fingers crossed for all involved.