Western Australian paddlers Jaime Roberts, Shannon Reynolds and Yale Steinepreise took home the medals in the women’s K2 200 final together with their respective K2 partners on the penultimate day of the 2019 Canoe Sprint National Championships.
Jaime Roberts and K2 partner Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW) won the women’s K2 200 wrapping up a successful racing series in the small boat events after also successfully contesting the women’s K1 500 and 200 as well as K2 500 events over the last few days.
“The K2 200 today was great for us. We had an awesome start, we felt very connected and every stroke was pretty much perfect for us, so it was a really good hit-out and I feel we just keep building on our 200 metres racing and we’ve finally been able to put that into our 500 metres race as well,” London 2012 Olympian Jo Brigden-Jones said after the pair also won silver in the K2 500 on Friday.
“We are really happy with the race and we’ve had a really good time as well and the way the other girls were paddling was some great competition for us. We knew we’d be lining up at the start line and that it would be a challenging race and everyone paddled really well,’ Brigden-Jones added.
Jaime Roberts and Jo Brigden-Jones, who finished eighth in the women’s K2 200 at last year’s World Championships, put in a strong performance and a time of 0:37.75 with Roberts also executing some PBs on home waters in the small boat events.
“It’s been really fast racing and I had a PB in the K1 500 and the 200. We didn’t have the usual the doctor tailwind but it’s still been pretty quick out there, so Perth is still producing the goods. The crews either side of us were very good crews and we knew it was going to be hard but we just had to stay in our own boat and do what we did over at worlds last year. We nailed the start which we were really happy with, but we had to push all the way to the end” Roberts said.
Fellow Western Australian, Shannon Reynolds and Ella Beere (NSW) finished second and +1.50 seconds behind the WA – Queensland combination of Yale Steinepreis and Brianna Massie in third.
Later in the day, Jaime Roberts and Jo Brigden-Jones also teamed up with their 2018 K4 team mates Alyce Burnett (QLD) and Alyssa Bull(QLD) to win the women’s K4 in a time of 1:32.56.
Cat McArthur (SA), Brianna Massie, Shannon Reynolds and Ella Beere finished second, +1.12 seconds behind.
“Those girls paddled really well. They are quite a young crew but they really brought it to us the whole way and we couldn’t rest on our laurels at all. As a whole, the women’s team is going really well and I’m looking forward to seeing the squad announced next week and then see what we can do over at the World Cups and then at the World Championships in August,” Roberts said.
After completing racing across the K1 and K2s, the women’s squad will continue racing the K4 on Sunday with selectors using the opportunity to test different combinations ahead of next week’s national squad announcements
“We are not sure yet what the K4 will be tomorrow just because we are trying a few different things, so it depends on selectors and what they decide to put on the water. But we are all up for a challenge and we all want the best for Australia. The K4 is an exciting boat and I think that with everyone stepping up in the K1s and K2s that we can push the field internationally so we really want to start riveting that up because at World Championships this year we have to qualify the quota spots for that boat to go to Tokyo,” Brigden-Jones explained the goals ahead.
Former national team paddler Bernadette Wallace and last year’s Senior and U23 national team paddler Josephine Bulmer (SA) have also set their eyes on Tokyo 2020 and are aiming to secure Australia quota spots in the women’s canoe events that will be new on the Olympic program in Tokyo.
The pair has been training together for four months and today took another big step forward to making their Olympic dream a reality after meeting the performance standard in the women’s C2 500 seeding race with another chance to make the time again in Sunday’s final.
Under 16 canoe paddlers from West Lakes, South Australia, Lauren Burchard and Rachael Donnelly also put in a strong time of 2:20.9.
“We were going for a time, we had a standard we needed to make out there so we were pretty much paddling against the clock, doing our best to race ourselves. The pressure is off doing it the first time, but ideally we want to back it up tomorrow and show that we can do it again,” Josephine Bulmer said.
“We had to hit a 2:07 today and that’s part of our progression as well, because we’ve only been paddling the C2 for four months and we are hoping to go faster and faster. Today we did a 2:05. It was a seeding race and we have the final tomorrow but we just saw it as having two chances to make the standard time and it means that we can be competitive internationally. Women’s canoe has been going for a while now so those times are also getting faster and faster internationally so we are just trying to catch up and hopefully we’ll be there by August for the World Championships. We haven’t raced a lot so another final tomorrow is going to be another chance to get this race plan into action and do what our coach tells us to do” Bernadette Wallace explained.
Also aiming for Tokyo 2020 is Tom Green (QLD), who crossed the finish line in first in the men’s K1 1000 in a time of 3:29 after already winning the men’s K1 500 a couple of days ago and securing automatic selection in both events for his second Senior team following his premier on the team last year.
“The goal for me this year is to get that K1 1000 spot and to try and push up in that and if all goes to plan, make the A final at World Cups and maybe even World Champs. I also want to get that K2 1000 going as well together with Joel (McKitterick) and the K4 500 to try and make A finals in every event,” the confident 19-year old said, who won the K2 1000 at last year’s U23 World Championships together with Joel McKitterick (QLD).
In other open men’s events, Olympic bronze medallist Lachlan Tame (NSW) teamed up with London Olympic champion Murray Stewart (NSW) to win both the heat and semi-final in the men’s K2 500. Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW) and Jordan Wood (QLD) won the second semi-final, while Jackson Collins (QLD) and Jean van der Westhuyzen (QLD) won the third with tight racing expected in Sunday’s final.
In the Junior categories, South Australians Jesse Kneebone-Ellis and Daniel Kucharski delivered on their promise to make it a trifecta in the K2s and added the K2 1000 18 win to their previous wins in the K2 200 18 and K2 500 18 and securing selection to the Junior team in the process.
“The goal was to make it a trifecta and it’s great to get that last gold,” Dan Kucharski said. “Hopefully going into Junior world’s, we can continue working on our K2 and hopefully race that at Junior Worlds and hopefully come away with a good result.”
The pair also finished first and second in the men’s K1 200 18 event and won their respective heats in the men’s K1 500 18 to wrap another successful day.
Under 16 paddler Toby Schooley also had a strong day, winning the K1 1000 16 while brother Lachy Schooley won the mixed K4 500 14 together with his Sydney Northern Beaches crew of Michael Dunbar, Ziko Vesely and Jacob Wilson.
In the women’s Junior events Kailey Harlen (NSW) continued her winning streak taking home the win in the women’s K1 200 18 as well as in the women’s K4 500 together with together with Yasemin Ray (QLD), Caitlin Webber (SA) and Ashlee Schoene (SA).
Ashlee Schoene and Caitlin Webber also won the women’s K2 1000 18 event, while Chaise Richardson (QLD) and Demi Bates (SA) won the K2 1000 16.Racing continues on the final day of the regatta on Sunday, 10 March 2019.Follow mobile live results here: http://bit.ly/SprintNationalsResults19
See all event information, including entries here: https://sprint.paddle.org.au/nationals/