Curtis McGrath and Amanda Reynolds have moved a step closer to securing themselves a place on the Australian Paralympic team after winning the first selection trial at the Oceania canoe sprint Championships in Adelaide.
Reynolds demonstrated why she is the reigning KL3 world champion with a dominant performance in the women’s K1 200 multi-class final.
The Victorian recorded a time of 52.70 to finish 4.07 seconds ahead of Susan Seipel who won the KL2 classification in 56.77. Seipel earlier won the V1 200 multi-class final in 1:05.16.
“It was a bit messy but I got off the start really well which was good as that is something we have been working on,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds felt it was a far from perfect performance and she has plenty to work on ahead of the second selection trial at the National Sprint Championships in Perth from 2 to 6 March.
“I have a new boat so it is just about getting used to the boat again, and building up strength and working hard to make sure that we are priming at Nationals and then off to Rio in September.”
McGrath also believes he has plenty of improvement left in him after he finished second in the men’s K1 200 multi-class final to take out the KL2 Oceania title.
McGrath finished 1.24 seconds behind Avoca kayaker Dylan Littlehales who won in 43.01 to take out KL3 class. Colin Seiders won the KL1 class in 57.63.
“I think we have two different peaks. We have Nationals peak where we do not have as much competition as we have over in Europe at worlds so I think there is definitely another level to be had going into Duisburg and again for the games,” McGrath said.
Earlier, the Varsity Lakes paddler took out the men’s V1 200 title and the extra race meant he did not produce the time he was after in the K1.
“It has been a big morning for me so that is probably one of the worst races I have done with a bit of race fatigue but it is good to get the starts in,” McGrath said.
“I think we are half way through the domestic season and it’s a long year so I think at this stage we are at a good level and it’s good to be pushed by Dylan at this stage so it’s been good.”
Littlehales to has enjoyed being challenged by McGrath despite them racing in different classes.
Today the 16-year-old beat Curtis for the first time and set a new PB by half a second.
“I have been chasing him for a while now and it is always good racing against him because in my class I am almost uncontested sometimes because I win by a few seconds but having Curt half a second in front, it helps drive me in the last 100 metres,” Littlehales said.
Since the conclusion of last year’s World Championships Littlehales has been working on his starts, fitness and technique and will continue to do so over the coming months as he aims to close in on the qualifying time needed to secure a place at the Paralympics.
“The current qualifying place for tenth spot is about 42.5 so I need to get under that in Germany to get the Paralympic quota but I think I am on track,” Littlehales.
The paracanoe athletes will contest the 500 metre events on Saturday.
In the other paracanoe final today, ACT paddler Breanna Reid won the women’s under-18 K1 200 in 1:05.32, 0.63 seconds ahead of Monika Galovic.