Paddle Australia unveils new look Canoe Sprint High Performance team

© Copyright photo Steve McArthur / Paddle Australia

Following a successful Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Paddle Australia (PA) set out on a new and ambitious high performance and pathway strategy to ensure the sport could capitalise on success and build on the strong foundations leading into Brisbane 2032. 

As part of implementing the new strategy, PA has restructured its high performance team that oversees the Canoe Sprint program. The changes further strengthen the leadership, management, performance support and coaching teams to take the program to the next level. 

Click here for new structure

After recently announcing the appointments of two of the new leadership positions, Kim Crane as the National Performance Director and David Foureur as the new General Manager Performance – Canoe Sprint & Paracanoe, Paddle Australia is now pleased to unveil the new structure and appointments for the Canoe Sprint program.   

As part of the recent recruitment process, Paddle Australia is pleased to re-appoint Jimmy Owens as the National Centre of Excellence (NCE) Men’s Sprint Kayak Coach. Jimmy has been an integral part of each of the Olympic Games coaching teams since Beijing 2008 and brings huge experience to the role. 

Laurence Fletcher, the newly appointed Assistant Sprint Kayak Coach, joins the NCE after serving as the Head Coach at the SA Institute of Sport and U18/23 National Team Coach for the last four years. Laurence will work across the Men’s, Women’s, and Para programs.

On the back of the success of the Canoe Slalom program in Tokyo, the structure and staffing will largely remain unchanged, with additional resources to support the pathways and coaching programs to be announced in coming weeks. 

Paddle Australia CEO, Phil Jones, said he was excited to announce the new positions and appointments that will focus on the strategic priority of consistent medal winning Olympic and Paralympic performances with athletes who inspire the nation and promote excellence.

“I am delighted to announce our new look structure for the Canoe Sprint program and the team who will lead our high performance pathway and Olympic/Paralympic programs,” said Jones. “We are particularly pleased to have had the backing and support of the Australian Institute of Sport in developing and implementing our new strategy.

“Led by experienced high performance administrator Kim Crane as the National Performance Director, the people we have assembled provide a terrific mix of paddling expertise across coaching and development, as well as seasoned high performance professionals in the various, key support roles. 

“The centralised Canoe Sprint program at the National Centre of Excellence on the Gold Coast creates an opportunity for our leading athletes to take full advantage of the established facilities and train regularly together, especially in refining their team boat skills. We are also fostering stronger links between the Men’s, Women’s, and Para programs, all of which will put us ahead of the game leading into Brisbane 2032. The programs around Australia supported by the State Institutes and Academies of Sport (SIS/SAS) play an essential part in the pathway, providing young, emerging athletes with local training and development opportunities.

“While the new structure will create greater efficiencies within our high performance system, there are a lot of familiar faces that remain part of the team. Others have joined us from paddling programs around the country, including from within the SIS/SAS network.

“With the journey to Paris 2024 well and truly underway, this is an exciting time for our high performance athletes and the broader team as we look to leverage on the great results achieved earlier this year at the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games,” he said. 

Unfortunately, these changes mean that David Smith will no longer be a part of the Men’s Canoe Sprint program. Paddle Australia would like to acknowledge the expertise, hard work and dedication of David Smith during his time as an assistant coach. Paddle Australia would also like to thank other staff members that have made a significant contribution to our high performance outcomes and that have left the program in recent months including Shaun Stephens, David Aitken, Glen Workman and Tahnee Norris.

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