The men’s K4 1000 crew, Ken Wallace and Murray Stewart all turned in some of their strongest performances of the year so far to set the scene for some top-class finals on the weekend.
The biggest name of all, the men’s K4 1000, looked particularly strong, finishing a comfortable second in their heat race, and then powering to an early lead before finishing a close second, less than one second, behind Hungary.
The Olympic gold medalists looked slightly underdone at the Racice Grand Prix one week ago, but in the space of one week have already shown strong improvement.
K4 crew member Murray Stewart said after the Australian National Championships he’d like to compete in the K1 1000 at this year’s World Championships.
If he can carry through on the form he showed today in the K1 it will be hard for selectors to ignore him.
Stewart finished second in his heat, and then led from start to finish to win his semi-final.
He’ll be joined in the K1 1000 final by the ultra-consistent Ken Wallace, who won his heat and then finished a close second in his semi-final.
Sydney paddler Lachlan Tame could not have been more impressive, blowing away a quality field to win his K1 500 semi, the fastest of five semi-finals.
Wallace was aiming to go one better in the K1 500 than last weekend, when he won silver in Racice. He looked untroubled today when he finished second in his heat, but failed to fire in the semi-final won by Tame, finishing sixth.
Bernadette Wallace was the stand-out performer for the Australian women on day one.
The younger sister of Ken finished second in her K1 500 heat and then fourth in her semi-final.
Sunshine Coast paddler Alyce Burnett was fifth in her K1 500 heat and seventh in her semi-final.
In the women’s K2 500, the new pairing of WA’s Jaime Roberts and SA’s Cat McArthur were the best of the Australians, finishing fifth in their heat and eighth in their semi.
Jo Brigden-Jones and Naomi Flood were sixth in their K2 500 heat, and ninth in their semi.
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