Wildwater Selection Races Mitta Mitta River January 12-14 2024

The selection races for the 2024 Australian Wildwater Team were held at the famous Sharks Tooth rapid on the Mitta Mitta River below the pondage dam at Dartmouth. We were lucky to be able to align the event with a  Goulburn Murray Water release. There was a peak flow of 4060 ML/D which was higher than the 2980 ML/d in the 2018 selections.

This year there were two sprint heats and two classics. All runs counted towards selection and the best times were used for medals.

Numbers of entrants were down from 2018 but the quality and enthusiasm was still very high. There was a strong contingent from WA with Kieran Simpson driving a trailer over and Kris Smith, Chairman Wildwater WA,  making the trip and being the webscorer wizard. We managed to give the competitors their run times after each run within 5 minutes. This was a huge improvement over our previous efforts. The use of WhatsApp also improved our communications and allowed us to revise our starting times to suit the weather conditions.

The shot below shows the lead into the rapid and requires pin point accuracy in the large downriver boats.

Paul Branson, National Events and Teams Coordinator of Paddle Australia, made the trip from Sydney to come and see the athletes compete. Peter Liepkalns, a long time paddler, and our liaison at Murray Goulburn Water was also there to see the action.

Training had tested the junior paddlers and those new to this rapid and several boats carried the scars of errant lines and were seen to be covered in duct tape the next day. Despite a few swims all entrants persevered and completed the four runs.

All the young paddlers were full of praise for the great water and the challenges. Their times improved as they patiently reran the sprint rapid. 

These events take a lot to prepare and run. I would like to thank Russell Bassett and Roy Farrance for work leading up to the competition and the following for their contributions on the days of the races including  (Start Line:) Chris Galea, Tony Ladson and Angie Wharton. (Finish:) Kris Smith, Chris Wharton and Paul Branson. (Rescue: on water) Ben Stremecki. Thanks also to Damien Guthrie, Chair of Wildwater Victoria, for coming to help out.


Below are some action shots courtesy of Sharon Leigh

Race results: 

Race results can be found on the following links:


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