The first Sprint Regtta of the 2013 season and the cream of national talent in both canoe sprint and canoe slalom were competing at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham this weekend. Our Chester paddlers were in great company, as Olympic medallists, including Tim Brabants, Ed McKeever, Liam Heath, Jonathan Schofield and Rachel Cawthorn were all competing at the first of the four sprint regattas.
Around 300 races took place on both Saturday and Sunday, over distances of 200m, 500m and 1,000m. There was open and senior A races, races at U23 level (K1 and C1) as well as the Junior National Championships and International Selection Regatta.
A very windy Nottingham seeing 200m times some 10 seconds slower on Sunday than Saturday. The wind produced a big lane bias with lanes 1 being the fastest and lanes 8 and 9 pretty horrendous. Despite this one of our new paddlers to the club this year, Richard Rogers had a fantastic race and came came 4th in Masters A 1,000m Final, whilst Melvin came 8th in the Masters B Final.
This Regatta was the junior National Championships with the boys under 16 class having the biggest entry of the weekend. David and Jake between them made 5 finals out of the 6 races they entered. Lane draws and the weather made a big difference however their highlights were Jake making final 2 in the 200m with David making final 3 in both the 500 and 1,000m events.
However the main highlight of the weekend were their K2 results where they made final 1 in both the 500 and 1,000. They came 8th in both finals in their first year of under 16 ranking them 8th in the country. Congratulations David and Jake this is a brilliant result for our two up and coming juniors, without a doubt they have a very promising season ahead of them, well done!
The Tuesday night sessions are underway with the first set of barrel runs and time trials completed.
Barrel Runs 2nd April - It was a cold and breezy evening for the barrel runs but at least the sun was shining which made everyone feel more cheerful. David Hatton demonstrated his continued improvement over the winter by recording a personal best while his dad, John, paddling a river racer, beat a number of supposedly faster people in K1s! Helen Marriott also showed a good turn of speed in her sea boat while Melvin Swallow recorded the fastest time of the evening.
Time Trial 9th April - By the following Tuesday, for the time trial, there was no sun but the wind had dropped and the temperature risen slightly. Div 4 to 6 paddlers were reluctantly persuaded to do the required portages and a good race ensued with Bob Scholey managing to beat Roger Williams for first place by just 12 seconds. Elsewhere Helen Marriott showed the way home in the div 7 to 9 category and Melvin Swallow was the only one to portage amongst the div 1 to 3 paddlers.
It was a reasonable turn out for the first of each of these sessions but we need to see more people taking part particularly with our own Chester marathon coming up on May 19th. Just turn up at the club about 6pm on a Tuesday evening, on the water starts at 6.30pm.
The week leading up to the DW conditions were so fast flowing, with the Thames on red Boards there was a bit of doubt knowing if the race would take place at all. All paddlers had to fill in a Matrix assessment 5 days before and if you scored above 12/20 you would be allowed to paddle. Adele and I felt we scored about 16, but our 'Support Team' marked us at 18 ... so their was no turning back, my stitches in my had been removed so we had no excuses!
We knew it was going to be a very tough race with very cold weather forecast and all chances of any records being broken had gone, due to the strong headwinds. We battled against sub-zero conditions after leaving Devizes at 11.20am on Saturday. We faced strong Easterly winds all the way to Reading, and were an hour down on our time, but plenty of other Crews were much slower and had suffered more. We felt good going into the night, we had superb kit 'Buffalo jackets' - worth their weight in gold! Very soon the -4 temperatures iced up their kayak, drinks systems, life jackets, spay decks and pogies! The portages were like ice rinks, so you had to be so careful, no running, we saw a few drop boats and break rudders. Our Support crew were amazing they looked after us so well, guiding us safely and feeding us hot soup and rice pudding! We managed to get our time back as we picked up speed on the fast flowing Thames. We hit Teddington just right for the tide, however the wind had picked up again and we had quite a battle with waves against wind, so it was a very bumpy tideway! One highlight for me, on the Tideway was paddling right past the Cambridge and Oxford Boats (they were rowing upstream) as they were having a warm up for the boat race, little did they know what we had all been through!
It was strong determination got us to Westminster Bridge on Sunday at 9.35am. They came 22nd out of 160 starters, they finished in an incredible 22 hours, 19 minutes, placed 2nd Ladies team and Winning the Ladies Veteran’s Trophy! Also came 6th/42 overall in the vets catagory.
Jean says ‘’Its certainly an amazing journey, with good times and dark times along the way. You push yourself to the limit and find your personal strengths, no mater how fit you are its your mental strength that drives you on. Its paramount having a very great trusting kayak partner, from whom you have no secrets, along with a positive support crew who never stop believing in your strengths!
We had the coldest Easter on record with 45% retirement rate due to the harsh conditions, we certainly had highs and lows but knowing we had so many followers back home and lots of sponsors that helped drive us on. We had tears of elation in our eyes, coming into Westminster knowing we had held onto our dream, we had a very emotional ’Team Hug’ and we have a memory that will stay with us both for ever. A huge thanks to our support crew, Dave, Kate, Adrian and Margaret … without them non of this would be possible they were truly amazing!
Jean and Adele
On the Wild Water Racing front their is a very important weekend coming up on 27/28th April at Bala. It is the GB Junior and Senior selection race for the forthcoming European and World Championships in the summer. The details have just been published on the WWR website but I have attached a summary below:-
Selection courses confirmed
Classic - Saturday 27th April 3pm start, 1 run - Below NRA bridge to rhulas pool (above Bala mill)
Sprint - Sunday 28th, 1st run 10am, 2nd run 12am, Best run to count, Pool below layback to rhulas pool
Entries on day only 10-11 in chapel falls car park
Start list published 11.45
Scrutinering will take place 12-1 in chapel falls car park
•All boats to be fully scrutinered in bottom car park at Tryweryn centre (next to chapel falls)
•Air bags to be blown up and tied in
•Boats to be in safe condition
•Handles to be in good condition
•Buoyancy aids and helmets to have current CE or EN stamps or markings.
•No faded markings, no "sticker fell off", no rips tears, alterations. This rule will be strictly enforced and you will not start without passing through boat control. This is the new ICF rule which we are following.
I can confirm there is an excellent Camping and Caravan site ideally placed for the race venue which I will be staying on and I can highly recommend it. Details and map are in attachment above and contact details are below :-
Contact: By Post: Tyn Cornel Camping & Caravan Park, Frongoch, Bala, Gwynedd, LL23 7NU
By Telephone on: +44 (0) 1678 520 759 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +44 (0) 1678 520 759 FREE