Septembers National Championship followed on from the Marathon Championships, so our junior paddlers had to adjust to sprint mode and up their game. The weather started off cold and everyone thought that the forecast was wrong, but by late morning the sun was shining. Granted there was still “head wind” but everyone took this in their stride knowing this was the last regatta of the session.
Amy Ward was once again our star paddler, taking the National Championship titles in the Under 18 Girls K1 1000m, K1 200m, K1 500m, K2 1000m partnered by Sam Rees-Clark from Basingstoke Canoe Club ( training at Elmbridge Canoe Club) and K4 500m with a mixed crew. Amy has been outstanding in both marathon and sprint this year, and these titles are her just deserts. Well done Amy!
Our Under 14 Girls, Rebecca Williams, Georgina McMullen, Rebekah Solway and Nicole Dawes, came away as National Champions in their 1000m K4 event and 2nd in the 500m. For Georgina this was her 1st ever event at Nottingham, having been persuaded at the previous regatta to crew in the Under 14’s, well done Georgina. Rebecca Williams and Nicole Dawes came 2nd in their K2 1000m and 3rd in the 500m, with all the girls in the K1 races making a Final 1 or Final 2 .
Kayne Wilkinson and Stefano di Gregorio raced in the Under 14 Boys. Kayne was 2nd in the 500m and 5th in the 1000m, with Stefano making Final 2’s and performing well, gaining promotion to Boys C. Paddling together for the K2 they came 4th in both the 1000m and 500m, Well done boys!
Our Under 18 Boys were Harry Archer and Bruce Jones ( who raced under Hereford, but has now moved and trains at Elmbridge Canoe Club). This was a tough session for them both but showing true Elmbridge spirit they made Finals in all their races and Harry performed brilliantly as part of the K4 crew to come 2nd in the 1000m. The same goes for our Under 16 Boys, Ross McMullen and Eliot Solway. Both performed keenly with Ross making Final 1’s and Eliot just missing out on Final 2, next time Eliot!
Our Under 16 Girl’s , Elise Piercy, Roberta Lufkin, Amy Dawes and Jenny Withers faced tough competition, but they too displayed determination and performed magnificently. Elise made Final 1 in her 1000m coming 5th, well done, and 2nd in Final 2 500m, missing out on 1st by a split second; Roberta came 5th in 500m Final 3. Both K2 partnerships made a Final in either their 1000m or 500m, well done girls and to Jenny for soldiering on even though she was ill.
Our only Under 23 paddler and racing in Womens C was Emily Illinesi. Paddling with Hazel Childerstone, from Wey Kayak Club, they came 2nd in the 500m and in her K1 200m came 3rd. They then raced up into Womens B and came 4th in the 200m, well done Emily.
Overall our junior Elmbridge paddlers, that raced all year at Nottingham, have been a tough, determined bunch. The majority have gained promotions and have demonstrated what Elmbridge Canoe Club stands for.
Enormous thanks must go to our amazing team leader, Fran Solway, who makes everything tick perfectly on the day. Obviously there are always problems which she endeavours to sort out, whether a late entry or finding a place for a paddler in another boat. Fran thought she was going to have a quiet weekend without visits to the tower, “ The walk of shame” ( as she puts it), but it wasn’t to be. Sunday was the day of 3 walks to the tower ! 1st for a lane infringement, 2nd a under-weight boat, and finally a no show for a race due to illness. Fran dealt with these events in her calm manner and was able to avoid any penalties for the team, showing this is why she is one of our favourite team leaders.
Finally thanks must go to all the parents parked on the hill and on the concrete, keeping their paddlers well feed, entertained and creating a wonderful atmosphere of unity, that makes the early mornings starts more bearable.