With heavy rain, sodden ground, overflowing rivers and high winds for the two weeks preceding Thameside 1 this year, it was exceedingly touch and go whether the race could go ahead. In fact, on the Tuesday before it, Race Coordinator Dan Seaford did a race inspection and found parts of the towpath under more than a metre of water.
Still Dan had faith and by Saturday, the weather and the water levels had dropped significantly. So, with special measures in place and only experienced, competent paddlers permitted to partake, the race went ahead.
It was a tight ship on organisation, very well run. Thanks Dan. Participants were understandably down, but still there were entries from 28 K1s and 29 K2s. Harry Freeland from RCC took 1st in JMK1, his dad Jeremy was 3rd in VMK1, while among the K2s Erika and Nigel were 3rd in Mix K2 and Bethan with FOX paddler Anna was 2nd in SLK2.
Thanks to all the volunteers who risked the wild weather to man the course and the whole RCC team for making it happen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A big thank you to
Brian for turning 70, agreeing to a party and making us all wear
fancy dress! There were some great costumes along the ‘B G’
theme, some members totally unrecognisable. We had a rash of Bad
Guys, a glut of Bunny Girls, Green & Black, a buxom schoolgirl …
named Brian, Batmen, Barbies and Ken, burglars, a British Gladiator,
even a Hot Dog (great work, Jean) … so much imagination.
Just over 80 turned up to celebrate seven decades of Brian. It was
great to see some former crew paddlers of Brian’s and former
members of the club – Lucy Perrett – the Club’s first Olympic
finalist, Rod Kinch, Heather Brough (a former K2 partner of Brian’s).
There was lovely food by Sabine and Jo, an amazing array of puddings from us all and a magnificent chocolate and Guinness cake, courtesy of Georgia and Imogen. Then music and dancing. Oh what a night!
Pleased to announce that entries for Thameside 2020 are now open, check out the race details. Please note both events have been over subscribed in recent years, therefore entries have been closed earlier than advertised.
76 paddlers took to the water on Saturday 14th December in the Christmas Mix and Match event, all dressed in festive garb – that was 32 K2s split over four starts, plus three K4s. What a spectacle for passers-by on the prom – Christmas come early! This was no gentle paddle, however, but a hard-fought race to the finish – 8km up, down, up and down again, in a couple of loops to accommodate the high flow.
A slap-up, big-fry breakfast followed for 86. A great fun morning all round, with brilliant organisation from Alex and Nigel on the pairings and the boats, and a slick production of breakfast from the catering team.
Thank you all – so good, please can it be an annual event?
More Christmas this week, with a leisurely paddle in Canadians up to the Oracle, singing all the way.
On the weekend of the 6th and 7th October, some of readings slalom team competed at Lee valley slalom competition in London. This was the first experience for the paddlers to try slalom on fast flowing white water. Many valuable lessons were learnt and it was a great weekend of fun for all.
The SRC ACM is on 19th October at Reading Canoe Club, follow the link to find all associated papers. For the first time we are allowing proxy votes (one per voting club and any one club can only hold one proxy) so if you cant get there you can still make your opinion count. SRC ACM – Full Details