Highdown 2019 – a summer of successes

Over the summer months in 2019, Highdown kayakers have been training hard and competing in both local, national and international competitions.

In July there was the National Marathon Championships, held in Norwich this year. In K1, Sam Betts and Alex Tonkin in U16 Boys came 4th and 5th against 40+ competitors. In K2, they did even better coming 2nd, as did Toby Betts in U14 Boys.

After great results at the National Sprint Junior Championships, Sam and Alex have now been selected for the English National Talent squad

Internationally, Freddie Kemp was competing in U18 Boys K4 in the European Junior Sprint Championships, held in the Czech Republic. Their K4 came 12th overall, an excellent achievement. They also took the K4 to the World Junior Sprint Championships in Romania and against 63 other countries around the globe, came an impressive 11th.

September 2019 Alex Tonkin qualified to race at the Olympic Hopes competition in Slovenia. This is another very tough competition, with all the top countries in the world competing. He managed to reach the semi-final in his events.

Also, in September, Sam Betts competed at the French National Marathon Championships. He came 9th in the K1 U16 and 4th in K2 Boys U16, despite being knocked in. Both he and Alex have now been selected for the English National Talent Squad thanks to this year’s outstanding performances in both sprint and marathon.

Toby Betts won Silver medal in all three distances of K2, with his partner Harry Freeland

Right at the end of the school holidays, there was the National Junior Sprint Championships, held in Nottingham. We are delighted that the whole Reading team returned with 25 medals in total, 12 of those Gold. Of those, three Golds were won by Freddie in Boys U18, in the Boys U16 Alex T won two Bronzes and a Gold, Sam took three Bronzes and a Gold. In Boys U14, Toby stormed through the K2 races winning Silver in all distances 200m, 500m and 1000m and a Bronze in K4, along with James Nelson, also of Highdown.

That’s not all, we have James Nelson and Miklos Szavabvari skipping up the divisions and now in Division 5, and Jacob Wright to Div 7.

Slalom

We have a number of slalom paddlers from Highdown, enjoying the sessions held on Wednesday evenings. Our two main competitors are sisters Emily and Natalie Neville – both in Div 2, and with Emily’s two all-out wins this season, she’s hoping very much for a promotion.

Overall 2019 was an excellent season for Highdown Paddlers at Reading Canoe Club. Well done to every one of you, some of you dealing with GCSEs and A Levels too.