Whanganui when again showed what a breeding ground it is for top class paddlers after a team of simply 18 returned house from the 2019 Sprint Kayak Nationals at Lake Karapiro with 14 gold medals.
The Whanganui Kayak Club, the kayaking division of Whanganui Multisport Club, had paddlers contending in the premier men’s division to age group occasions including under-13, under-14 and under-18
Coach Brian Scott said the Whanganui team had an outstanding regatta completing up third equal on gold medals won with Hardship Bay behind Arawa from Christchurch with 22 golds and North Coast with 17.
“We completed with 14 golds, however Arawa had 49 paddlers and North Shore 56 compared to our 18 and the bulk of our medals and titles were won in the u13, u14 and u18 age groups,” Scott said.
“It goes to reveal what depth and guarantee we have here in Whanganui where the training conditions are second to none. The Whanganui River definitely provides us an edge.”
Highlights at the greater level included two open men in the top six in the premier male event, the K1 1000 m where Max Brown won bronze and Toby Brooke completed sixth.
Brown, who is now part of the New Zealand High Performance squad in Cambridge training on Lake Karapiro, teamed up with Kurtis Imrie from Mana to win the K2 1000 m, while Brooke won bronze in the 5km event and silver outdoors guys K4 500 m when teaming with Brown, Liam Lace and Ethan Moore from Mana.
“Not all won medals, naturally, but they were all awesome, so pleased with them all. And there was some excellent group work included, we have a great team culture which is important. This is the start of some cool things in coming years,” Scott said.
“The u13 team won their division overall to claim the Tyro Cup. The young boys, Angus Sewell and Alex Hamblyn won whatever they went in, consisting of gold in the K4 with Greta Cox signing up with the kids. Greta also won silver and bronze. Then Angus stepped up a grade to team with Zane Mills-Nossiter to win the u14 K2 200 m and 500 m. Zane had a tremendous regatta winning three golds in the K1 200 m, 500 m and 5km race, which is a really hard occasion.
“In the u18 age Lucas Thompson at stroke, Jack Clifton, Archie Tonks and Cameron Russell absolutely damaged their rivals in the K4 200 m. Archie is the child of famous rowing coach Cock Tonks and he takes a trip down from Cambridge to raining with us here in Whanganui. His dad was from here and Archie still has household in Whanganui.
“Unfortunately, we needed to pull Archie out of the regatta after he established a fever and we changed him with George Pedley from the u16 crew. george had actually been doing so well as stroke of the u16 crew that he remained in the front of the u18 K4 boat in the 500 m race. They got away to a pretty sluggish start, but by te 450 m mark they had actually paddled their method through the entire field to strike the front. Sadly, they were only just pipped on the line by Hardship Bay – it was a huge effort,” Scott stated.