The following report was provided by CANI Slalom Squad member Alistair McCreery on his experiences of the first leg of Irish Canoe Slalom Team Selection at the end of March
This year the Irish canoe slalom team selection series takes place over two legs, the first leg was at the sluice weir in Dublin. In the lead up to the race Jake Cochrane and I traveled from Nottingham to Dublin the weekend before to get some training in on the course, our sessions focused on getting to know the course and trying as many moves as possible using the drop. After a good weekends training in Dublin we traveled back up to Belfast for a few days at the start of the week. Jake, Eoin Teague and I headed back down again on the Wednesday before the race to add the finishing touches before racing at the weekend. After making sure we had all the main moves dialed in all we had to do was perform on the day!
The first day of racing arrived and this was the day that counted towards the selection series. We were all feeling good going into the race knowing what we had to do to get the job done. I had a solid first run with a few small mistakes that needed fixing for second runs, however having this run behind me took the pressure off slightly for second runs and gave me the opportunity to throw everything into my second run, with one touch I was happy with the run and it was enough to give me third position on the first day of racing. There were good performances and tight racing all round with Jake taking 1st in the c1s and Sean McLarnon coming away with 6th. In the K1s Eoin and I took second and third place respectively, Elliott Davidson came in 7th and Tiernan Gribbin 14th. In the K1W Kiera Davidson managed to get 3rd place.
The Sunday’s racing did not count towards the selection series however we all still wanted to do well in the national championships. It was another tight days racing. My first run had a few too many touches leaving me with it all to do in the afternoon’s second runs. Almost everyone went quicker on the second runs with the course being more familiar the second time round. A great second run from Eoin gave him 1st place, and the national championship title for 2017. My second run was faster however a touch left me just off the podium in fourth place. Jake came away with a second place.
Having all put in performances to be proud of we were able to travel back to Nottingham and put in another few weeks of training before the second Leg of selections in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia. The racing takes place on the 22nd and 23rd of April. Stay tuned to find out how we get on!