Afton Fitzhenry – May Regatta


The second of the national regattas was held on the 9th/10th May. Holme Pierrepoint saw another blustery couple of days but still an improvement on April’s conditions. I was racing the C1 200m, 500m, C2 200m,500m and finally C4 200m, all results were very positive and achieved my goals.

In the C1 200m started off well and quickly got up to speed and maintained as well as I could, battling the wind and steering the boat straight to the finish to take bronze. That afternoon was the C2 200m, my crew mate Emelia, part of the Girls4Gold squad, and I have only been together once or twice so this regatta was really just about testing it, We finished the race but unfortunately were disqualified along with another crew boat for leaving our lanes meaning only one boat finished the race! – That’s how windy it was!

On Sunday I raced the C1 500m, this was a big challenge as we haven’t trained for it and I have never raced it so everything was new. I had my plan in my head which was reassuring even though I still get that nervous  feeling – I like that feeling though, I put it into my performance. I got out of the bucket in 1st place and remained there but slowly my competitors came crawling closer and eventually passing no matter how hard I fought against it. I finished in bronze, nothing left in the tank, and a very pleased with my performance. My final two races the C4 200m and C2 500m, my C4 crew was a combination of Girls4Gold and a fellow paddler, Sophie Rooney, who is a very talented individual who can canoe well and is currently close to selection for the GB Kayak team. I was at the back, steering this massive vessel down what seems a tiny lane. The race began well we got out of the bucket well and in time. This race goal was to just to stay in time and make sure the boat went straight. We crossed the line in a PB time finishing centimetres in front of our competitors – a very well fought race. My final race was the C2 500m unfortunately my partner could not race and therefore I raced with another girl – Nia Tomos, who I have never paddled with. Again we got into the buckets and looked down the course. If there is one thing about the 500m it looks and feels like a long way but there is something addictive about it even the feeling of breathlessness and tightness you feel at the end. Ready Set … the buckets dropped and we were off a nice rhythm each stroke trying to make perfectly and steer straight down the course. All the boats were drawing right down to the finish tower only to be pipped at the post by the other Girls4Gold boat. Gutted, but then again we did well considering the facts.

I have already made changes this week to my paddling as we had Tamas Buday – a legend himself, who has medalled at multiple Olympics in Canoe! He reviewed my technique and said he was happy with it and nothing to be corrected – I was so pleased and amazed by what he said! Such an Inspirational person!

Another positive weekends racing and I look forward to my next regatta which is in Burlogne, France, at the Women’s Canoe Cup on the 30th/31st May!

Thanks for all the support and it was great seeing the Ray, Ben, Darragh, and Gerry racing. Great medal winning performances and I look forward to seeing everyone racing in the future!

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