A total 10 finals were contested on the opening day of racing at the National canoe sprint Championships at Champion Lakes in Perth on Wednesday.
The day belonged to Australia’s K4 1000 men with its crew of Kenny Wallace, Lachlan Tame, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear earning the right to be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee after completing a clean sweep of the nomination trials.
They won the national title in 2:54.02 to finish 1.43 seconds ahead of Riley Fitzsimmons, Joel McKitterick, Daniel Bowker and Jordan Wood.
Only Stewart and Clear remain from the K4 that won gold in London but in Wallace in Tame, Stewart believes the new combination has what it takes to go all the way this year.
But Stewart believes the new combination has what it takes.
“You don’t want to talk about relief, but I think for us here there probably was a bit of relief to get it done,” Stewart said.
“I’m really excited about what this boat can do. We’re a new crew, and that’s two good races now.
“There’s a little bit to go, but it’s going well. We’re developing a race plan, we haven’t quite nailed it yet, but we’re working on a formula. We can see where we want to be, we know what we want to do.”
Jo Brigden-Jones also completed a clean sweep with another narrow victory in the women’s K1 200 final.
The 27-year-old recorded a time of 40.78 to finish 0.09 seconds ahead of local Olympic hopeful Alana Nicholls.
South Australian Catherine McArthur finished third in 42.25.
The victory for Brigden-Jones moves her a step closer to Olympic nomination.
“The job’s not done yet, I still have to keep focused,” Brigden-Jones said.
“Because we only have three spots for the women, there’s a battle on. I guess I’m three-quarters of the way there, and if I win the 500 I’ll secure my spot.
“You want to know as soon as possible, but I just have to be patient for another couple of days to see how it will pan out.”
In the other senior finals on Wednesday, Curtis McGrath and Susan Seipel won the men’s and women’s V1 200 finals respectively.
The V1 races provided the pair with the perfect opportunity to blow the cobwebs out ahead of the K1 200 finals tomorrow.
A victory in Thursday’s final for either McGrath or Seipel would earn them the right to be nominated to the Australian Paralympic Committee after each won at the Oceania Championships in Adelaide last month.
In the other open final today, South Australian Josephine Bulmer won the women’s C1 500 final in 2:38.61, 23.80 seconds ahead of Isabella Rositano.
Burley Griffin paddler Breanna Reid won the under-18 women’s C1 500 final in 5:20.34.
Reid also won the under-18 paracanoe K1 200 event in 1:01.77.
In the other junior finals today, Chaise Richardson, Sophie Rixon, Hannah Lund and Natalee Rixon combined to win the under-14 girls K4 500 final.
The Currumbin quad recorded a time of 2:04.08.
The men’s under-14 K4 1000 final was won by Ethan Shapcott, Jarrah Sheppard, Liam Warriner and Caylan Siddell in 3:47.74.
In the final event of the day Yasemin Ray, Shania Smee, Alicia Fay and Sophie Butler combined to win the under-16 girls K4 500 final in 1:49.44.
Big day of finals up next
Thursday shapes as a big day of racing for Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls with seven open finals set to be stage tomorrow morning.
Thursday Finals schedule:
8:30am – MK2 1000 A Final
8:44am – MC2 1000 A Final
9:30am – MK1 200 A Final
9:45am – PC MK1 200 Final
9:50am – PC WK1 200 Final
10:05am – WK2 500 Final
11:36am – C1 1000 Final
A full preview will be published Thursday morning.