Australian Canoeing’s Slalom Paddlers finished day two of the Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships in Auckland, New Zealand (27 January to 29 January 2018) with two silver and one bronze medal. Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW) won silver in the women’s K1, while team mates Daniel Watkins (TAS) and Brodie Crawford (WA) won silver and bronze in the men’s C1 respectively.
Held at the tricky artificial rapids at Vector Wero Whitewater Park in Auckland, the Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships is the first major international hit-out of the 2018 canoe slalom season and a selection relevant event for the Australian team.
Ros Lawrence kicked-off the Australian medal haul on day two of the event, after finishing the final with a clean run (101.48) and only .082 seconds behind Katerina Kudyova (CZ, 100.66) to claim silver. Lawrence, who went into the final run ranked seventh after a couple of gate touches in her semi-final, was thrilled to wrap up the day with a medal.
“I had a couple touches in my semi run, but my final was clean and I was happy with it. I could have been a little bit faster, but it was very solid run for my first selection race,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence has paddled the course as much as any of the internationals, having competed in last year’s Oceania titles, as well as both editions of the Whitewater XL event. She has seen vast improvements in the Wero course over the last 18 months and was delighted to escape without touches.
“It’s hard to have a clean run at Wero – it’s a tricky course and it can be quite unpredictable,” Lawrence said. “There are more vertical walls here, which makes it surge a little bit, but it’s a much nicer course than last year. It just takes time and tweaking and the courses naturally get better. The competition has been pretty tough, but I was happy that I managed to stay clean in my final run today and we’ll see how it goes in tomorrow’s C1.”
Olympic medallist and K1 World Champion Jessica Fox experienced the challenges of the course first hand, when she won the women’s K1 semi-final in the morning and clocked the fastest time of the day in the final with a raw time of 96.53, but then missed gate six and copped a 50 second penalty from the judges, who deemed her head did not go through the gate line after hitting the gate with the bow of her boat. She also picked up two late touches, which saw her finish ranked eighth (150.53).
“I attacked it a bit mote in my final and took some risks that didn’t pay off, so I’m obviously a bit disappointed, but I enjoyed paddling this course. It is quite challenging and I’m looking forward to having another crack at it tomorrow in the C1,” Fox said.
Noemi Fox (NSW, 108.81) finished the final in fifth while Tasmanian Kate Eckhardt (109.11) followed in sixth and Alison Borrows (NSW, 114.61) in seventh place. In the U23 ranking Noemi Fox ranked second, while Kate Eckhardt was third.
The men’s C1 saw two Australian paddlers on the podium with Daniel Watkins winning silver and Brodie Crawford bronze.
2018 Australian National Champion Dan Watkins managed a second place despite two gate touches after an otherwise fast and solid run (98.25). Losing four seconds on penalties, Watkins was only 0.39 secs behind winner Kilian Foulan from France (97.86) and had the faster raw time.
“I’m very happy with my raw time, which was 94secs on both runs and I’m pretty happy with that. It’s a really fast course here if you are on line and if you get off line it’s really, really hard work and it’s a massive contrast. Being able to swap when you need to in the C1 to keep the speed on the boat really helps,” Watkins said after the race.
The Tasmanian contributes his strength to the fact that he was focussing on the C1 last season, “Normally I do both the C1 and K1 and last year I only did the C1 and that got me pretty strong in the class. It’s my last year in U23s this year and I will be focussing on that,” Watkins added.
Western Australian Brodie Crawford joined Dan Watkins on the podium after a breakthrough performance and a quick run with only one gate touch and also a faster raw time than the winner. It was the first podium and Senior final at Oceania champs for the 21-year old, who will be knocking on the Senior Team’s door with this result.
“My performances have been building over the last couple of years and I had a bit of time off in 2014 because of glandular fever so I had six months off, but I have been working my way back to the top since then and hoping to break on to the international circuit this year. This is part of our selection trials and it’s definitely a good start.”
Australians Ian Borrows and Ethan Hodson also made the final and finished sixth and ninth respectively.
The final day of the 2018 Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships on Monday, 29 January 2018 will see the finish of the men’s K1 and the women’s C1 as well as the first Oceania boatercross (extreme slalom) championships, which features four boats racing down the course at once.
Results from the second day of racing at the Oceania canoe slalom championships at the Vector Wero Whitewater Park in Auckland, Sunday, 28 January 2018:
Women’s K1 final:
Katerina Kudejova (Czech Republic) 100.66 1, Rosalyn Lawrence (Australia) 101.48 2, Camille Prigent (France) 102.39 3, Martina Wegman (Holland) 106.22 4, Noemie Fox (Australia) 108.81 5, Kate Eckhardt 109.11 6, Alison Borrows (Australia) 114.61 7, Jessica Fox (Australia) 150.53 8, Luuka Jones (New Zealand) 152.83 9, Sage Donnelly (United States) 168.59 10.
Men’s C1 final:
Kilian Foulon (France) 97.86 1, Daniel Watkins (Australia) 98.25 2, Brodie Crawford (Australia) 99.59 3, Casey Eichfeld (United States) 99.60 4, Lukas Rohan (Czech Republic) 101.41 5, Ian Borrows (Australia) 101.68 6, Benjamin Gibb (New Zealand) 104.48 7, Callum Gilbert (New Zealand) 107.36 8, Ethan Hodson (Australia) 109.50 9, Patrick Washer (New Zealand) 119.99 10.
See all results, semi-final line-ups as well as Monday’s schedule here: http://www.slalomnz.org.nz/events-1/oceania-champs
See all women’s K1 results here
See all men’s C1 results here