Fox Sisters Lead Strong Women’s Team Into Olympic Qualification Season
Paddle Australia has today announced the 2019 Canoe Slalom national teams to represent Australia at the 2019 ICF Senior, U23 and Junior Canoe Slalom World Championship as well as at the World Cup season. The team announcements follow intense selection racing over two weekends at the 2019 Sydney International Whitewater Festival’s Australian Open (15-17 February 2019) and Oceania Championships (22-24 February).
Australia’s greatest individual canoe slalom paddler of all time, dual Olympic medallist and seven-time World Champion Jessica Fox (NSW), will be spearheading Australia’s Canoe Slalom Senior team to contest the 2019 World Cup season which will culminate in the Olympic quota deciding 2019 Canoe Slalom World Championships in La Seu D’Urgell, Spain at the end of September (25-29 September 2019).
It is Jess Fox’s tenth national team and will give the World number one the chance to defend her double World Championship crown in the women’s C1 and K1 as well as the overall World Cup title in both classes.
“This will be my tenth year on an Australian team with 2009 being the first time I qualified on a junior team so it’s really special to have qualified again,” the 24-year old said.
“I may have had a good bonus for these selections from my World Championships results, but I didn’t feel like I was pre-selected and I really wanted to do well in my races over the last couple of weeks. It took me a little bit to get into it in the qualifications on the first weekend at the Australian Open but then I really enjoyed racing the semis and the finals and trying to put my best runs down to secure my spot and secure my position on the team,” Fox said about the selection racing that saw her win the women’s C1 over both weekends at the Australian Open as well as at the Oceania Championships. Fox also added a silver medal in the women’s K1 to her medal tally.
“It’s a great little squad that we’ve got, our girl gang. It’s never easy to race selection and to deliver it when you have to, so it’s been good to see them lifting it and making the final with some good runs,” added about the Aussie slalom girls.
“The racing and the results over the last couple of weeks have been a great motivation to work on the things I need to improve on and do better next time. We’ve got a couple of months before the world cup series will start in Europe, so I’m looking to get some good training in until then.”
At the World Championships as well as at four out of the five World Cups Fox will be joined by her younger sister Noemie Fox (NSW), who will also double up in both classes. The 21-year old, who won the bronze medal in the women’s C1 at the Australian Open (17 February) will also contest the U23 World Championships in Krakow, Poland in July in both classes.
“It’s been hard with selection taking the toll on your body and mind. But I’m just really glad that I went through the first whole selection races in good spirits. On the first weekend, I paddled to my potential and that always feels good. I’m lucky enough to get to train with Jess every day and it’s good to be able to push yourself against the best in the world.” Noemie Fox said about selections and the opportunity to be able to train with the world’s best female slalom paddler, her sister, every day.
The strong women’s team is completed by Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW), who finished two weekends of tight selection racing with a silver medal in the world-class women’s C1 field last weekend and will also get the opportunity to double up at the World Championships as well as at four out of the five World Cups.
“It’s definitely always exciting to make the team. It’s been tough with the other girls, they’re pretty awesome. This year we have to be on the team to go for Olympic pre-selection essentially so there was a bit of extra pressure there and it’s a relief to be on the team,” Lawrence said.
In a strong women’s slalom team with only three spots available, last year’s World Championships paddler Kate Eckhardt from Tasmania will be focussing on this year’s U23 World Championships, while also being a reserve for the Senior Team.
“I’m glad that I will still be travelling overseas this year racing the Under 23 world championships and we’ll see if I get the chance to do any other races,” the 21-year old said.
“There are lots of things that I want to achieve at the Under 23 Worlds where I’ll be racing in both classes. Getting up there with those top girls is something I’m really looking forward to pushing towards and seeing what I can do,” Eckhardt said about the goals ahead.
In the men’s team, Rio Olympian Lucien Delfour (NSW) is once again the number one boat in the men’s K1 following his silver medal at last year’s World Cup final and strong racing during selections, including a silver medal at the Australian Open.
Daniel Watkins (TAS) and Tim Anderson (NSW) will join him with Watkins also doubling up in the men’s C1.
“It’s really good to be in the team for both classes again this year. This will be my first year out of Under 23’s and I will go through to the World Cups and try to do my best in every race and hopefully make more finals than last year,” the 23-year old said after making his first Senior World Championships semi-finals last season.
“There were a good five or six people in each class who were really pushing and it’s been a really eventful couple of weeks with everyone really close,” Watkins added about the high calibre selection racing.
Tim Anderson secured another Senior Team selection spot following consistent racing during selections and a seventh place and Oceania Champion title in a world-class men’s K1 final last Sunday.
“I’m very excited. I moved from Melbourne to Penrith for Slalom a couple of years ago, so team selection is the most important week for me, aside from the actual World Championships and I’m very excited to make the team,” Anderson said.
“The racing over the last two weeks got me really motivated for racing this year in Europe. I think the other competitors will be in a bit fresher shape, so I’ll have to step it up again to match that.”
Rio Olympian Ian Borrows (NSW) will join Watkins in the C1 at the World Championships as well as at the World Cups with the final World Championships spot yet to be decided depending on results on the international circuit.
U23 paddler Steven Lowther (WA) will get the chance to contest four World Cups as well as the U23 World Championships following an impressive 15th place and finishing as the highest ranked Australian in the men’s C1 semi-final last weekend.
The confident Western Australian is keen to build on his performance and has his eyes set on the World Championships spot and more.
“I didn’t believe that I was top ranked when I found out, but it gives me a lot of confidence that I have what it takes to be up there with the best, going into Tokyo 2020. Hopefully I’ll make the semis at some of the World Cups, go to senior world championships and go from there,” Lowther said.
Australia’s canoe slalom future is looking bright, with the youngest paddlers also impressing selectors for the Junior Team line-up. Stand-out paddler in the under 18 class, was 16-year old Western Australian Jack Choate, who made selection in both the men’s C1 and K1 after consistently placing as the top paddlers at Junior nationals and other selection relevant racing.
“I’ve been pretty happy with all my racing and I’m very excited to make the Junior team again this year. I want to improve as much as I can and get as much experience overseas as possible and come back and make the team again,” Jack Choate, who made his first Junior team last year, said about the goals ahead.
“Jack’s (Choate) been doing better than we have so he gets the first boat, but I’ve come away in the top three and I’m really happy to make the team again. Last year didn’t work out too well for me, I made it there but my runs didn’t go that well so I’m really happy to go back this year and hopefully do a bit better for my last year of Juniors,” Brad McLaughlan said.
The Junior women’s team will be led by another Choate family member, with Alexandria Choate returning to the team after finishing a strong fifth at last year Junior Worlds. Like her brother, she will also double up in both classes, and she credits the sibling rivalry for the pair’s success.
“There’s always a bit of sibling rivalry, but also I get to learn a lot from him (Jack), to see how he does things and we just push each other to make ourselves go better,” Alexandria Choate said about making the team together with her brother.
“Getting selected means that I get to have a whole lot of fun and work really hard to do my best at the Junior Worlds. It’s always a great experience and it’s an amazing thing to go there and compete against the best and to see how you compare watching everyone else who is amazing and just loving the sport as much as you do,” Choate added.
In the K1, 16-year old Sophie Wilson (NSW) will join Choate after the youngster delivered a couple of impressive selection events, including winning the national title in both the K1 and C1 at the Junior Nationals in January.
“It’s mostly about having fun, but it’s good to know that you are going well. I will train even harder now and do my best,” Sophie Wilso said following her selection.
The youngster on the team names her Penrith Valley Canoeing club mate Jessica Fox and World #2 Ricarda Funk (GER) as her role models and is aiming to learn from them as much as possible.
“They’re amazing to watch, just the technique, the persistence, everything is just incredible and I would like to be exactly like them. Their focus and consistency would be amazing to have.”
The ICF Canoe Slalom international season will kick-off at the London 2012 Olympic course in Lee Valley, London 14-16 June with World Cups 2 and 3 following the weekends after in Slovakia and Slovenia respectively.
The ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in La Seu D’Urgell, Spain will wrap the season at the end of September.
2019 Paddle Australia Canoe Slalom Teams
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM
ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, La Seu, Spain, 25-29 September 2019.
K1W:Jessica Fox (NSW), Noemie Fox (NSW), Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW)
Reserve: Kate Eckhardt (TAS)
C1W:Jessica Fox (NSW), Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW), Noemie Fox (NSW),
Reserve: Eckhardt, Kate
K1M:Lucien Delfour (NSW), Daniel Watkins (TAS), Tim Anderson (NSW)
Reserve: Ben Pope (WA)
C1M:Daniel Watkins, Ian Borrows
Reserve: Steven Lowther (WA), Tristan Carter (VIC)
WORLD CUP SENIOR SQUAD: (# Automatic World Cups Awarded as per Policy)
2019 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup Season:
World Cup 1: Lee Valley, UK, June 14-16 June.
World Cup 2: Bratislava, Slovakia, June 21-23.
World Cup 3: Tacen, Slovenia, June 28-20.
World Cup 4: Markkleeberg, Germany, 30 August-1 September.
World Cup final: Prague, Czech Republic, 6-8 September.
C1M:Daniel Watkins (4), Ian Borrows (4), Steven Lowther (4), Reserve: Carter, Tristan
K1M:Lucien Delfour (4), Daniel Watkins (4), Tim Anderson (4), Reserve: Pope, Ben
K1W:Fox, Jessica (5), Rosalyn Lawrence (4), Noemie Fox (4) Reserve: Eckhardt, Kate
C1W:Fox, Jessica (5), Noemie Fox (4), Rosalyn Lawrence (4) Reserve: Eckhardt, Kate
*Third C1M athlete to be confirmed based on International Results.
#Potential to select additional athletes to the World Cups based on the Reserve selection criteria (Clause 4.3) following confirmation of athlete race programs (after 15th March).
2019 ICF JUNIOR & U23 CANOE SLALOM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, Krakow, Poland (16-21 July 2019)
C1M:Jack Choate (WA), Mark Crosbee (VIC), Daniel Shamieh (VIC)
K1M:Jack Choate (WA), Brad McLaughlan (VIC), Josh Montalto (VIC)
K1W:Alexandria Choate (WA), Sophie Wilson (NSW)
C1W:Alexandria Choate (WA)
2019 ICF JUNIOR & U23 CANOE SLALOM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, Krakow, Poland (16-21 July 2019)
C1M:Steven Lowther (WA), Tristan Carter (VIC), Brodie Crawford (WA)
Reserves: Bassett, Kaylen Bassett. Lachlan
K1W:Noemie Fox (NSW),Kate Eckhardt (TAS), Georgina Collin (WA)
Reserves: Alexandra Broome
C1W:Noemie Fox (NSW), Kate Eckhardt (TAS), Demelza Wall (WA/TAS)
Reserves: Alexandra Broome,
K1M: Angus Thompson,