The following report was provided by CANI Sprint Squad member Zoe Thompson on her experiences during the British Canoeing Sprint Regatta in Nottingham
In April we travelled to Nottingham for the British Canoeing Sprint Regatta, Craig, Darragh, Gerry & I flew over whilst Ben & Ray kindly drove to take over the boats. We had a very successful weekend’s racing joining Afton Fitzhenry & Johnny Young, all representing N. Ireland.
Johnny finished 3rd in Paracanoe Men KL2 & 3 200m race with a time of 44.24 & then gaining a 2nd with a time of 45.08. He came 1st in KL3 Paracanoe.
K1 200m heats, the times were all extremely close, Craig 50.76, Gerry 51.96 & Darragh 47.35. In the final, Darragh came 1st, Craig 2nd & Gerry 6th.
K1 500m Men’s D & Masters saw Gerry, Craig & Darragh getting into the final again with Darragh coming 3rd with a respectable time of 2:07.29, Gerry a close 4th with time of 2:14.16 just beating Craig by 0.7 second.
Ben & Ray raced K2 200m alongside the elite in Mens A/B & finishing 5th with a time of 44.69. Gerry raced Men’s / Masters K2 1000m winning the race.
Afton raced C1 200m & 500m getting into the final for both races coming 2nd & 2nd respectively. In C2 she came 1st in both 200m & 500m finals. Afton’s family also travelled over to show their support.
Zoe came 1st in her K1 200m heat with a time of 56.20, & came 4th in the final. She came 5th in her heat for K1 500m but didn’t get into the final. A photo finish for the girls D K2 200m showed Zoe & her K2 partner Kate coming joint 1st with a time of 53.87 in the heats before going on to secure a 2nd in the final. Both girls also came 2nd in their K2 500m heat, coming 6th in the final.
This weekend was a fantastic learning experience. The races run with military precision so you have to learnt about getting in the correct lane & being up at starting line in plenty of time before your race. During racing weekends we have to utilise all the knowledge we have gained through training. We must remember it’s not only about our speed & technical skills but we also have to factor in diet, rest periods and breathing techniques. Some words of guidance from Ray were necessary to help manage the nerves and some humour from Ben was appreciated when things didn’t go quite right! We celebrated our successful weekend with another chocolate cake from my auntie!
The following week we learn that CANI & Erne paddlers saw Darragh & Craig gaining promotion to Mens C class & Zoe gaining promotion to Girls C.