2019 Wildwater National Championships Wrap Up with Rapid Sprint Races

The 2019 Paddle Australia Wildwater National Championships wrapped up with the Rapid Sprint races today (Sunday, 6 January 2019).

The third race day in Paddle Australia’s Wildwater Pre-Australian Selection series on the Upper Mersey Whitewater Course in Tasmania saw over 50 athletes from across Australia competing for national selection in the fast 350-metre event.

2018 Wildwater National Team paddler Rob McIntyre of NSW relished the shorter course and took line honours in the Open Men’s Kayaking (K1) event. Launceston paddler Dan Hall came a close second, with Alex McIntyre (NSW) taking out third position only three seconds later. Hobart paddler and 2018 Canoe Slalom Senior and U23 representative Daniel Watkins, who will also be contesting the 2019 Canoe Slalom National Championships in Tasmania next weekend, followed one second behind in fourth position with less than five seconds separating first and fourth place in a very hotly contested race.

McIntyre, who finished fifth in the K1 men’s individual sprint race at last year’s 2018 ICF Wildwater World Championships, his best result at a World Championships, enjoyed the tight competition with Hall – one of the role models and inspiration in his wildwater career.

“Any time Dan lines up, it’s going to be an exciting event. Some of my greatest inspiration early on in my paddling career came when I was a junior racing as a forerunner at the 2009 Tasmanian World Cup series. Watching him medal there and the dominance he displayed at many national champs at the time really motivated me to do the same. At 42 to be still taking out national titles is a credit to the athlete he is. I’m half way there. Hopefully next time I can take that classic race from him,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre, who most recently contested the Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 1 in Adelaide in December, will not be available for Wildwater selection this year though and focus on his flatware paddling this season instead.
“I was really happy to have competed over the weekend, but this year I am trying to have a more specific focus on my flatwater. In the past, I have tried to do well at any form of paddling, whether that’s Wildwater, Sprint, Surf Ski. I don’t want to look back and realise I might have spread myself thin and regardless of whether I make the sprint team or not, I won’t travel to Europe this year for Wildwater. I’ve been every year since 2009. I will have a paddle though in February at the Wildwater GP in Penrith. Hopefully a few of our international friends turn up and we have an awesome event,” McIntyre said about the plans ahead.

With two wins and one second place behind McIntyre, it was a successful come-back weekend for Hall, who made waves at his return to competition after eight years winning both the Pre-Australia Classic Selection Race on Friday as well as the Wildwater Classic Race on Saturday.

 

“Pending the final decisions of the selection panel, I’m absolutely thrilled to rejoin the Wildwater K1 team. I was first part of the team in 2003 and felt like I was ready to have another crack,” the 42-year old said.

The Open Women’s K1 sprint was once again dominated by 2018 Paddle Australia Wildwater representative and Open and Under 23 paddler Georgina Collin (WA) who was the top ranked female paddler across all events over the weekend and  and managed to take two seconds off her first and second runs in the sprint race finishing six seconds ahead of second-place getter Demi O’Brien (WA). Jessica Wilson (NSW) took out third place.

“I felt really great through the whole competition and I was pretty surprised with my results. I trained hard this pre-season and I felt really amazing on the water,” Collin said at the end of the competition. While final selection decisions are still pending, Collin was already excited about the season ahead and will also be contesting the canoe slalom selections in February: “I’m so excited for U23 worlds in Banja Luka! It’s my coaches home city so I can’t wait to make him proud there. “

Bendigo’s Imogen Douglass (VIC) was again victorious in the under 18 Women’s K1 event, while Ruby Elms (VIC) took the honours in the under-16 Women’s race.

In the Under 18 Men’s K1 class, Ben Strmecki (VIC) was first, finishing three seconds ahead of James Humphrey (VIC). Thomas Elms (VIC) completed the top three.

I believe the issue Neville has is that James Humphry (his son) was the National Champion for the U18 K1 in the classic however the article on the website reads that Thomas Elms was the Champion.

In the Men’s Under 16 division, Ryan Hughes (VIC) took first place with Joshua Lee (NSW) second and Hobart paddler, Hamish Dalziel taking third. In the Men’s Canoe (C1), 2018 canoe slalom junior national team paddler Rob Janiszewski (VIC) again took out the Under 23 event with Thomas Elms (VIC) taking line honours in the Under 18 class. Line honours for the Men’s Canoeing (C2) went to Victorians Kaylen and Lachlan Bassett.

Sunday’s results finalise the selection process for the Rapid Sprint event and with results from the two Classic Races of the past couple of days, Paddle Australia’s Wildwater Selection panel now have the details they need to determine final membership of the National squad for all age groups.

Paddle Australia are expected to announce the prospective team in one week’s time so team members will soon learn if they will be on a plane to the Senior World Cup and World Championships events in France and Spain or for the Under 23 and Junior athletes to represent Australia at the World Champs in Bosnia and Herzegovina in July 2019.

This concludes the Wildwater National selection races at the Upper Mersey and Paddle Tasmania recognises the support of sponsors, Hydro Tasmania, Tasmanian State Government, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Services and the Tasmanian Institute of Sport. All events are organised in partnership with Paddle Australia (PA).

Day 3 Results are expected to be uploaded to the website later tonight: https://wildwater.paddle.org.au/

Head to www.facebook.com/paddle.org.au for more images from the event.

Results Day 1 & 2:

Pre-Australian Classic Selection Race

2019 Wildwater National Championships – Wildwater Classic Race

2019 Wildwater National Championships – Wildwater Classic Teams Race