Saturday 5th September 2020 saw some much anticipated K1 Sprint Racing on the River Thames at Caversham, in spite of the global pandemic. In the absence of any Nottingham Sprint Regattas this year, Reading Canoe Club’s Junior Coach, Freddie Kemp, organised a COVID compliant Mini Sprint Regatta for some lucky juniors – the first and last Sprint Regatta of 2020!
All social distancing rules were observed and any spectators were spread out on both banks, including interested passers by taking an afternoon walk on the promenade. The weather was fine with none of the traditional gusty crosswinds of Nottingham. Instead, the participants expertly negotiated a range of rowers, cruisers and barges …. and their washes. Racing lanes had to be a bit flexible!
For several of the Juniors, this was their first experience of a Sprint Regatta and Freddie ran the event in a traditional format. The timetable included 2 groups of K1 Races: 200m, 500m and 1000m distances with extra time allowed to warm up and warm down. Each race was announced in advance and the paddlers organised themselves for the start of their race – great experience for the next Nottingham Sprint Regatta. There was no ‘Team in the Tower’ for processing the results, Freddie started and finished each race on his bike and shared the times at the end of the afternoon.
There were no start buckets for this Regatta but the racing was serious nonetheless. There were a couple of speedy special guests leading the field and ‘rinsing’ the paddlers behind them – all part of the Regatta experience! Naturally, the usual mountain of snacks was consumed back at the club to boost those energy levels between races.
A huge thank you to Freddie for putting together a great experience for the Juniors that have trained really hard with his coaching this year, despite all the changing rules and challenges that coronavirus has presented. An excellent afternoon of racing.