2013 National Championships
Western Australian duo Steve Bird and Jesse Phillips confirm their status as the nations best 200m paddlers, while Jo Brigden-Jones upstages Alana Nicholls to win a thrilling womens K1 200 final to highlight an exciting day of sprint canoe racing in Perth, Western Australia.
24 year old Steve Bird has ended Murray Stewart’s three year national reign with victory in the men’s K1 200 final today.
The Canning River paddler recorded a fast time of 36.34 to finish 0.28 seconds ahead of former surf champion and emerging sprint paddler Lachlan Tame, with Ken Wallace adding a bronze to the K1 1000 national title he won yesterday.
Shortly after, Bird combined with fellow Western Australian Olympian Jesse Phillips to win a second national title with victory in the K2 200 final, their fourth consecutive together.
It was a great result for the popular Western Australian’s who both underwent surgery after last year's Olympics, casting some doubt over their chances of a fourth consecutive K2 200 title.
They narrowly held off a fast finishing Tame and Wallace by 0.06 seconds, winning in a time of 33.41. Bayswater duo Todd Brewer and Brodie Holmes finished third.
"It was a hard-fought race, especially for myself," said Phillips.
"Yesterday, with five races, really took the edge off me. My race fitness isn't there yet so we're really happy with a win.
Bird also revealed he was supremely confident heading in to this morning's K1 200 final, despite high-class opposition.
"You know what you've done in training, I know what I've done, I've trained hard," he said.
"I haven't left many stones unturned, so I expected a lot of myself, which is kind of validated by the amount of work I've done. I did expect to be up there on the podium at least."
Sydney Northern Beaches paddler Jo Brigden-Jones upstaged reigning national champion Alana Nicholls in a thrilling women’s K1 200 final today.
Brigden-Jones handled the difficult cross-wind conditions the best winning in 41.88, 0.39 seconds ahead of Nicholls, with Sunshine Coast’s Rachel Lovell finishing third in 43.79.
It's been a long road back to the top for Brigden-Jones, who was ranked two in the world before a serious shoulder injury in 2010 sidelined her for 10 months.
She believes she's still not back to her pre-injury form, even though she has recorded several PB's in training.
"I'm not quite back to where I was, especially in the 500 metres, but I feel 2013 will be the year I'll make it happen," she said.
Brigden-Jones went on to complete the double like Bird in the afternoon, combining with experienced South Australian Hannah Davis to win the women’s K2 200 crown.
The pair dominated the final, winning in 40.47, 1.50 seconds ahead of Queensland duo Alyce Burnett and Hailey McGinty, while Fairfield’s Marlena Ahrens and Bayswater’s Jaime Roberts combined for third, 0.33 seconds further adrift.
Hungarian Laszlo Foltan blitzed the field in the men’s C1 200 final, with the 29 year old too strong, winning in 42.23, 2.82 seconds ahead of Brothers Canoe Club duo Alex Haas and Jake Donaghey, who finished second and third respectively.
The two-time World Championship medallist for Hungary has spent the past six months in Perth, and would like to compete for Australia next year.
"I want to stay here more, but I'm going to go back to Hungary for a month later this month," Foltan said.
Haas and Donaghey bounced back in the C2 200 final, with the London Olympic duo edging Foltan and close friend, Ferenc Szekszardi by 0.05 seconds to claim the victory.
It was a busy day of racing for the nation’s best paracanoeists, with the 200 metre Paralympic distance contested today.
The day began with the men’s PC K1 200 arms only final with Patterson Lakes paddler Gary Connor narrowly getting the better of Penrith’s Colin Sieders in a topsy-turvy final.
The Victorian won in 1:01.26, 0.08 seconds ahead of Sieders, with Varsity Lakes’ Paul Bailey finishing in third, eight seconds further behind.
Reigning Australian Paracanoeist of the year Kara Kennedy continued where she left off last year completing the double today with victory in the women’s V1 200 and K1 200 finals.
Western Australian paddler Brock Ingram also recorded a double, while Victorian Amanda Drennan won the women’s K1 200 LTA final.
With a number of Australia’s best U23 paddlers competing in the open classification at this event, Encounter’s Tim Symonds was Australia’s best placed finisher in the U23 K1 200 final, finishing second behind South Korean Minkyu Choi.
Choi won in 38.60, 0.63 seconds ahead of Symonds, with Paddle NSW athlete Robert McIntyre finishing third.
In a dominant weekend for the South Korean paddlers, Choi combined with Jiwon Kim to win the U23 K2 200 event ahead of Kawana Waters pair Nicholas Bolton and Neil Gardner, and McIntyre and Tasmanian canoe club paddler Tom Norton.
Coco Howcroft was a class above her challengers in the women’s U23 K1 200 with the Direct Members paddler dominating the final.
Howcroft produced a fast time of 47.25, to finish 2.66 seconds clear of Currumbin Creek paddler Ellie Leaver, with Anna Hennessy of West Lakes taking home the bronze.
Bayswater youngster Shannon Reynolds and Patterson Lakes Kieren Carson were the standout performers today, with both teenagers collecting two National titles.
Reynolds was paddled superbly in the U18 K1 200 final, winning in 45.97, 0.63 seconds ahead of West Lakes Madison Davies, with Bendigo’s Rebecca Mann continuing her excellent weekend, collecting the bronze.
Reynolds and Davies then combined for victory in the U18 K2 200, winning in 43.21, 0.27 seconds ahead of U18 K2 500 winners Rebecca Mann (VIC) and Alyssa Bull (QLD), with Sydney Northern Beaches duo Deandra Godoy and Mackenzie Labine-Romain settling for third.
Patterson Lakes’ duo Carson and Jarrad Campbell won their third U18 K2 title with victory in the K2 200 today.
The Victorian pair won in 36.17, 0.73 seconds ahead of Western Australian duo Alexander Graham and Nicholas Pond. Direct Members Sean Lohse and West Lakes Jared Lee finished third 0.91 seconds behind the winning time.
Carson capped off a perfect weekend with victory in the U18 K1 200, finishing 1.10 seconds ahead of Graham and Campbell.
Racing will continue tomorrow, the final day of this year’s National Championships, with the action getting underway from 8am local time.
The 500 metre Paracanoe event with get the action underway, with Sunday’s racing also set to feature the women’s 1000 metre events, and the men’s 500 metre events.
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