Sydney kayaker Naomi Flood has been officially named on to her second Olympic Team today following a challenging selection process, that concluded with a race off against her friend and teammate Jo Brigden-Jones.
In mid-March, 12 kayakers were confirmed for the 2016 Australian Olympic Team, after the National Championships and Oceania Championship selection races, however the K1 quota for women was not confirmed – as Flood and Brigden-Jones could not be separated.
The Duisburg World Cup in Germany was the final chance and 30-year-old Flood was able to produce her career best K1 500m result of 9th, to secure her nomination to the AOC.
“It’s been very physically and mentally demanding and a really awkward situation for Jo and myself to find ourselves in,” the former world champion surf lifesaver said.
“I’m just really relieved it’s all over now and stoked to be on the plane with my oversized boarding pass.”
It was tough for both girls racing for the K1 and not how any of them had planned. After finishing 7th in the K2 at the 2014 World Championships, they focused on helping Australia qualify the K4 spots at the 2015 World Championships but the crew missed by the narrowest of margins. They then refocused on the K2 and were beaten over the trials by young Queenslanders Alyssa Bull and Alyce Burnett. It was then a battle for the final K1 spot.
Now back in Australia hard at training, Flood is not looking back and chasing a career best performance in Rio.
“Knowing what London was like and the experience that I had there, it was such a great learning experience and something that went too quickly,” Flood who was 12th in the K2 with Lyndsie Fogarty said.
“I just wanted to get back there and do it all again and hopefully do it better. To race K1 is mind blowing.”
Flood and the kayak squad are buoyed by the great start to the World Cup season.
“The team has really come together, it’s a smaller team than it has been in the past. The boys are getting on great, their performances are outstanding and it’s definitely rubbing off on to the girls.”
The Canoe/Kayak Sprint section is now complete at 13 athletes and the 2016 Australian Olympic Team now sits at 148 athletes, with around 420 athletes expected.