Gold rush for Tokyo Olympians at Nationals in Adelaide

Olympic Men's K4 Riley Fitzsimmons, Loccy Tame, Murray Stewart and Jordan Wood (credit: Carolyn Cooper)

Tokyo bound Olympians have wrapped up the 2021 Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Championships with an impressive collective medal haul.

The Championships featured the Olympic and Paralympic Sprint team. With more than 270 races held over five days.

Paralympians finished their program yesterday, taking vital steps towards finalising Tokyo preparations – click here for wrap up. 

Rio Olympian Alyce Wood kicked off the final day of competition with a win in the K1 200, an opportunity for her to get some much needed racing in before Tokyo.

“It’s really good to come here and get a few wins under our belt before the Games, it’s kind of all about the process at the moment,” Wood said.

“We’re not racing the 200 in Tokyo, but it’s good to know that I can get out of the blocks quickly.

“It’s also been great to be back in the K2 racing with Aly (Bull). We’ve really nailed the race processes and we’ve been able to take away some bits which are really positive, and some bits that we can work on in the next 60 days or so.

“I’m really excited to get to Tokyo and lineup – we love the K2,” she said.

Racing alongside the next generation of athletes has been something that Wood has enjoyed about the Adelaide regatta.

“It’s good to see that gap being bridged this year, and to see the next generation of athletes coming through the ranks – things are looking really exciting for the Paris Olympic and beyond,” Wood said.

For Wood, the highlight of the final day is always the K4, and watching her husband Jordan in the Olympic K4.

“I think I get more nervous watching him race than I do for my own races,” Wood said.

“I get so excited to watch the boys in the K4, they’re probably the best team I’ve ever seen in terms of camaraderie and how much they get around each other.

“They’re four best mates jumping in the boat, and being able to go to the Olympics together – I expect some big things from them because they are a very good combination,” she said.

For Olympic bronze medalist Loccy Tame, who’ll be lining up in the K4 in Tokyo, the Nationals has been a good hit out for him and his team mates who took out the K4 500 on the final day of racing.

“It wasn’t perfect, but that’s why we’re here. We’re working on getting it right for Tokyo, so we raced the race it was and it was good to get a nice little win,” Tame said.

“We’ve got Murray (Stewart) coming back from injury, so it was a little rusty, but the middle 200 is where we’ve done most of our hard training so far, and you could see that really paid off,” he said.

Being able to simulate the pressure of racing is what has proved to be the best test for Tame at Nationals.

“You want to have nerves, because you want to know what nerves are, and you want to use them for more energy,” Tame said.

“I think we’re even going to be able to go to another level when we get to the Olympics and that’s the exciting part.

“Going to trials last year, I was just looking forward to getting the boat on the water because we’re all fun and we’ve been around each other since 2015.

“So to finally slip on the race suits together overseas later this year will be really special – there’s a good vibe amongst the four of us.

“I really wanted to do the K4 after Rio because it’s the closest you can get to a footy team in paddling.

“I was so nervous before we came down to the course this morning, but then I look at the other boys and I know they’ve got my back.

“We call it the Ferrari, and no one does the Ferrari by themselves, it doesn’t just fire off one engine,” he said.

With just over 60 days to go until the Tokyo Olympics, Tame said the team are hitting their straps.

“We’re stoked, this is the jam now and it’s been so enjoyable being in the boat with Riley, Jordan and Murray,” Tame said.

“There’s 10 weeks until the Olympics and we’re pretty confident that we’re going to get it perfectly right in Tokyo.

“You can have bad days, but if you can have good moments every day, that’ll be great,” he said.