Yearly Archives: 2019

Junior’s Summer Camp at RCC

On the 28th July 40 Junior paddlers descended on Reading Canoe Club for a Special Training Camp. With paddlers coming together from 9 different clubs it was certainly an experience that no one will forget shortly. The Camp was led by Devizes Coaches Trevor and Bev Hunter, Daniel Colby and Reading Coach Jim New. 

The week kicked off with some of the speedy boys shooting off to Dorney first thing to be coached by Eric Farrell (Liam Heath’s Coach), while the others got started at the club. At the end of the day, participants stayed on to take part in the club’s weekly time trial – a record number for attendance with a 50-boat staggered line-up! Tough for time-keepers!

Tuesday was our wet day. Not to worry – another group was off to Dorney to be coached by Eric, while the rest of us endured the rainy Thames. 

Wednesday was the final day for camp goers to visit Dorney and it was the turn of the youngsters. They had a very special treat, training with the big man himself – Liam Heath!! They came back with the biggest of smiles and buzzing with excitement. Truly a memory they will hold onto for a very long time. 

The rest of the week was held at RCC and was a huge success. With much thanks going to RCC club paddlers for being hugely welcoming. The children all worked extremely hard during the course of the week and enjoyed their downtime at the campsite. With their brains buzzing and bodies exhausted from all that training, they got to enjoy a film night on Thursday, this is with great thanks to Jonny Nelson and Nik Topham for organising and getting this set up. 

Friday came around, the last day, and after a hugely fun day with training and racing completed, it was time to get back to camp before heading home Saturday morning. The last evening was a personal favourite, we had a massive bonfire on the go and the children took to playing catch and cricket (the bat was a bit of wood they found on the floor!) together and reminiscing on the best bits of the week. Us coaches got to enjoy poems that the junior paddlers had created at our expense! 

It was a fantastic week!! I would like to say a massive thank you to all the organising team at Devizes CC and Siobhan at Banbury. I would also like to say a massive thanks to the Tophams for the use of their garden for the camping. Right, on to planning next year’s now!!!

Handicap Race and celebration BBQ at RCC

Monday 5th August saw the 2nd in our Handicap race and bbq. It was fortuitously placed just in time to welcome our World’s Paddlers home. They returned home that afternoon – the new World k1 200-metre Champion Dan Atkins leading the squad down the path, as 60 RCC members, with paddles raised, cheered them through, flags waving. Not only did we have our Reading Worlds paddlers – Dan, Freddie, Sam G and Magnus (OoP member), we were delighted to have fellow GB squad members Alix Aitchinson and Philip Miles come to join in the fun.

Thanks Jim, Nigel and all the team for organising such a lovely celebration evening and fun event and all the amazing decorations.

Reading’s Dan Atkins crowned World Champion

It took Reading Canoe Club’s Dan Atkins just 36.835 seconds to power down the 200 metre course at Pitesti in Romania and win Gold and World Champion title in sprint kayaking. Over the previous two days he had dominated both his heat and semi final and was one of the favourites to win. Still it was a very close race, with 2nd place going to Germany’s Tom Maassen just six hundreths (.062) of a second behind him and Spain’s Gabriel Martinez in 3rd place just one hundredth of a second behind that.

Dan said “I didn’t know if I’d won it, but then I saw the scoreboard and heard the cheers from the crowd (the home team and rest of the GB squad) and knew I’d won it. It was a great race.”

He was back in a boat in the afternoon, racing K4 (four-man boat) with Reading’s Freddie Kemp, plus Andras Kereszturi and Philip Miles. They were delighted to finish 11th overall in the 500 metre K4 event.

Dan and fellow Club sprinter Freddie have been lucky enough to train this year alongside the UK’s reigning 200-metre Olympic Champion Liam Heath MBE and his coach Eric Farrell. In fact, this is the second title Dan has won in the space of two weeks – he took Gold and European Champion in Czech Republic just 14 days earlier.

Reading Canoe Club was proud to have four of their paddlers at the World Sprint Canoeing and Kayaking competition this year – an event which saw entries from 63 countries and the world’s very top Under 18 and Under 23 sprint canoeists. Besides Dan and Freddie, there was Sam Glover in the U23 500-metre K4 and Anna Palmer in C1 and C2 canoe events.

For further information on canoeing, please email info@reading-canoe.org.uk

Shepperton 2019 Slalom competition

Another weekend of successes for Reading Canoe Club slalom team!

On 13-14th July, a number of our slalom paddlers travelled down to Shepperton Weir to take part in the annual slalom competition. For some of our paddlers this was their first ever competition and for many others it was the first opportunity to try moving water. Although managing a few swims early on, our junior paddlers fought really hard in their first runs to manage a Reading-dominated score board!

After quite a few of Liz’s bacon butties at lunch, our paddlers were powdered up and ready for second runs, and the results were amazing! After battling the course (and doing the gates in the right order) Peter Skinner bagged himself first place closely followed by Luke Hadley in second and Simon Gosciniak in sixth, both gaining a promotion to Division 3! Also in Division 4, Holly Williams flew around the course improving her previous time by 62 seconds putting her in fourth place and fastest in her age category. Racing for the girls in Division 3, Zoe Neville shot down the course gaining minimal penalties and a massive improvement of 65 seconds!

Over in the boys’ category, George Murphy, Tom Robson and Mark Gutteridge powered through the gates, taking home trophies for first by Tom and third by George. Mark made massive improvements on his time and performed two upright runs despite having a few wobbles earlier on.

On Sunday our paddlers produced equally amazing runs with Tom and George placed first and third once again, this time with Peter on their tails coming 13th in his first ever Division 3 race! Representing the girls, Erin Bonsall also competed in her first division 3 race managing 5th place and making vast improvements! For the Division 4 men, Simon Gosciniak showed his fearlessness speeding down the course and coming home with 3rd place!

Well done to everyone who competed this weekend, it was astonishing to have a Reading paddler in the top three in almost every category! I hope everyone enjoyed their time on the whitewater and are looking forward to more competitions soon.

By Emily Neville

July 2019 K4 Race Day

Hot and sunny – the perfect conditions for a K4 race day. 34 boats were entered across the 5 categories – A (fastest, paddlers division rankings must be 11 or less), B (12-19), C (20-25), D (26+), plus the Rockets.

34 boats in total from 10 clubs, some coming from as far as Nottingham to compete. Reading put out seven and a half crews and gained a 1st in Races D and B, 2nd and 4th in Race C. Ours were the only Rockets, but they showed us all how to race with gusto.

A great day – thanks to all the team.

Highdown Fun Day, July 11th 2019

35 excited Year 7s turned up for our Canoe Fun Day – the first ever hosted by Reading Canoe Club. It was held specifically for students from Highdown School who had completed a 5-week beginner’s course during April/May and June/July (a total of 48). It was intended to be part fun / celebration and part a test out of the skills they’d learnt.

Nigel and Jim were leading the sessions, with the assistance of top junior ‘coaches’ – Sam B, Alex T, Rachel N, Rory T and Joseph B, with Emily Neville demonstrating the slalom. The four teachers attending were kept firmly on bankside, at leastuntil games time.

The 35 were split into three teams – Red, Yellow and Blue – and got started with a sprint relay. That was in K1, K2 or K4, as preferred. Great racing, only two capsizes and the Red team came out on top.

Next up – Silly Slalom. Again a team race through and round the poles, with a bit of limbo and paddle-throwing-through-the-hoop for a good measure, to get a team time, with penalties for touching poles or missing any out.

Final activity was games on the water – tug of war, charioteering, who could cling longest to the top of Nigel’s slalom boat or, if that was all a bit too complicated, simply jumping off the platform for a swim.

Homemade chocolate banana cake and other goodies galore kept the Year 7s’ energy levels up and they all had a fun-charged day. We do hope we’ll see a few of them back as members to learn more skills. It would seem we might, judging from their enthusiastic comments. They were a lovely crew of enthusiastic paddlers and even the few, who were a little nervous at first, got out there and enjoyed themselves.

Thank you to the teachers – Mr Morris, Mr Lee, Mrs Sadler and Mr Walker – who transported the children down to us. They seemed very chilled, with little to do bar some counting!

Thanks to all the helpers, particularly Nigel for masterminding it.

A few quotes from the students on what they thought of the course:

This was a great experience and the chocolate banana cake is delicious”

It should have been longer. Epic, loved it. A longer week course.”

“I really enjoyed my time here.” “It was the most fun thing ever!”

I had lots of fun today. Very nice food, good games on the water. Great staff too. Overall it was a great fun experience.”

It was the best experience ever”

Fun Day 2019, July 13th, by Erika

We had the perfect conditions for the Club annual Fun Day: not too hot and not too cold, slight breeze and a pretty warm river. And this year even I managed to take part and left other mums to do the scoring.

Four teams of six were completing in Brian’s championship games and we all had an amazing time. Playing balloon murder, ferry relay, fill the cup game, basketball (on the water), tug of war (of course) jousting, all finished with a nappy swim.

Thank you Brian for running this fantastic and fun-filled event again this year, the kids (of every age) loved taking part.

Interclubs MacGregor Cup 2019

What a weekend of sunshine and racing! What a weekend of results! Team Reading was on top form.

It was great to see our lightning paddlers increase from zero to three – first appearances from Ruth Shephard, Jenna Topham and Jensen MacNab. Awesome racing from all three with the K4 crews gaining a 1st and a 3rd.

Also new to sprints this regatta was James Nelson and Miklos Jnr, progressing to finals in many races. New to the team, but not to sprints was Edgar Boehm in Masters C, who managed a first in every race! Wow! Great points, Edgar.

Bethan D was also on top form, gaining a podium position for every race. Terrific results, Bethan. Georgia Boonham was also on fire, which was lucky as she was in so many races! Particularly impressive was 2nd in her 1000m K1, 1st in her K2 200m and 2nd in K2 500.

Dan A also excelled – 1st in Men’s A K1 200m was impressive stuff; making a course record as a junior was even more amazing. Many congratulations, Dan. Brother Matt, despite rarely being seen in a kayak, scored a trio of 1sts and a 3rd.

There are so many to mention – Evan took 3rd place in every race he was in, Jo Jo and Hannah were delighted to take 2nd in their K2 1000m, Stefan had two 1st places , a 2nd in his K1 500 and 3rd in his K1 1000m. Kat was up for a sprint too, with podium places in all her K2s. Tant was taking no prisoners in K1, scoring a 3rd and a 1st in Masters K4 along with Nigel, Stefan and Edgar.

Sam Glover, back from the Worlds, was 1st in his Mixed K2. The Mixed K2 was a new event. We just want it open to Masters too. Our only canoeist this regatta was Max Kimberley. He gained two thirds and, along with Alex Tonkin, has been selected to Olympic Hopes as a result of this regatta. Many congratulations to the boys.

Many thanks to every member of the racing team, for all those who looked after the babies and toddlers at the event, and to all the support crews and those who volunteered at the regatta. What’s more, there were zero trips to the top of the tower. Amazing. Even more amazing was our 4th place, a mere 4 points behind 3rd place. Well done to all.