The following report was provided by CANI Slalom Squad member Kirsten Eatock on her experiences during the Division 1/2 Race at Shepperton earlier this month
Early March saw the start of the new British Canoeing Slalom season, with Shepperton Canoe Club hosting the first Division 1 race of 2016 at Chertsey outside London.
A challenging and highly unusual course, on unforgiving white water provided the setting for an extremely competitive weekend of racing.Kirsten travelled across to compete against 27 other women in the K1W class.
On Saturday, she had a good first run but a small error entering a difficult cross caused the nose of the boat to rise into a vertical position resulting in being washed downstream and leaving a long paddle back to the gate. That combined with four touches put her into eleventh place but plenty of opportunity for improvements to be made on her second run.
The afternoon saw mixed fortunes for many of the paddlers some improving on the morning’s work, others struggling, with even a number of swimmers. Kirsten put in a stunning run with only 1 touch and lovely lines into all the gates, getting the cross to perfection to achieve a time of 123.19 seconds and take the lead. After a nail biting 20 minutes, confirmation of the results gave Kirsten the first win of the season and her first ever win at division 1.
Sunday’s race was similarly competitive but two small errors combined with a developing viral infection left her further down the ranking in 17th place. In the end, though, a great weekend of racing with plenty to build on over the course of the season and a great result on Saturday moving Kirsten up the division to 9th position.