Olympic gold medallists cruise to victory
Rain has not dampened the paddlers spirits as day one of the 2013 Grand Prix 3 Regatta comes to a close.
London Olympic K4 gold medallists Tate Smith, David Smith, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear returned to racing today in their first competitive race since winning gold at Eton Dorney last August.
As expected the ‘K4some’ dominated the K4 1000 final, winning in a time of 3:03.86, 2.23 seconds ahead of Brodie Holmes (WA), Reece Baker (WA), Sam Norton (TAS) and Daniel Bowker (WA).
The boys were happy with their performance.
“It is always good to keep winning I suppose, plenty of things to work on, it was far from a perfect race but it is still good to get the win,” said Stewart.
The crew are aiming for consistency over the coming year, with a focus on do the little things well and to continue to look at ways of improving their performance both on the water and off it.
Asked what they hope to achieve this year, Tate Smith responded, “I don’t think we have dropped outside the top five at worlds, so if we can maintain our spot and be competitive towards the front end of the field I think we will be happy, especially after an Olympic year when you drop off your training a little.”
Earlier in the day Swedish star Anders Gustafsson, New Zealand veteran Ben Fouhy and Tasmanian Sam Norton impressed with all three winning their respective K1 1000 heats.
Joining them in tomorrow’s final will be K4 gold medallists Stewart, Clear and Tate Smith, Western Australian Daniel Bowker, Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame.
Wallace and Tame then combined to qualify for the men’s K2 1000 final after winning their heat in a time of 3:33.61, 3.86 seconds ahead of Western Australian pair of Reece Baker and Daniel Bowker.
25 year old Naomi Flood continued her excellent form after finishing second in the 2012/13 Telstra Ironwoman Series with victory in her K1 500 heat on Friday morning ahead of Western Australian Alana Nicholls and Gold Coast’s Bernadette Wallace.
Only 0.4 seconds separated the top three girls setting up an exciting final on Saturday where they will face London Olympic K1 200 gold medallist Lisa Carrington who won the second heat in 1:56.21 ahead of fellow kiwi Tanielle Hatton and Jo Brigden-Jones.
The battle for U23 selection continues to heat up with athlete performances this weekend to determine who gets to represent Australia at the ICF U23 World Championships in Welland, Canada from 1-4 August.
Queensland teenagers Bill Bain and Jordan Wood and South Australia’s Luke Haniford look like the ones to beat in the men’s K1 1000 U23 event after dominating their respective semi finals.
Illawarra Canoe Club paddler Scott Smith is another in contention after winning the fourth semifinal and is confident of a strong performance tomorrow but acknowledges that dual Youth Olympic gold medallist Bain will be tough to beat.
“I was pretty happy to get the two wins and looking forward to tomorrow’s final,” said Smith.
“Billy Bain is the one to beat; he always paddles well as these events.”
The U23 K2 1000 final looks set to go down to the wire with Bain and Glenn Rypp, and Haniford and Zac Ryan all looking fast.
Holdfast Bay’s Cat McArthur and Sunshine Coast paddler Alyce Burnett moved straight through to the women’s U23 K1 500 final after victory in their respective heats this morning.
McArthur was happy with her performance.
“I was pretty happy with my race.”
“My aim was to take that one out and get the reward of having the rest of the day off to prepare for tomorrow.”
Looking to mount a challenge to McArthur and Burnett will be Canning River paddler Jaymee-Lee Martin and Sunshine Coast paddler Stacey Higgins after they posted victories in the first and second semifinals.
McArthur and Burnett went on to combine with Amy Peters and Marlena Ahrens to win the women’s U23 K4 500 final, moving them a step closer to U23 Australian selection.
Brendan Rice, Todd Brewer, Bill Bain and Glen Rypp combined in the last race of the day to win the men’s U23 K4 1000 final.
The action heats up tomorrow with the men’s K1 1000 Final to get racing underway at Sydney International Regatta Centre from 8am local time.
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