All posts by Reading Canoe Club

April 2018 Nottingham Regatta

All these weeks of snow, wind, rain and the April regatta managed to land on the one sunny weekend. Weren’t we lucky. A glorious sunny Saturday and pleasant Sunday, and most importantly minimal wind. Amazing!

We were a neat team of 10 paddlers, with the Juniors dominating this regatta. There was some terrific racing. Stand out was Fran – 2nd in her 200m K1 and 1st in both her 500m K1 and K4. Lili, her first regatta in Girls C, was also a winner in that terrific K4, as well as winning a 3rd and a 4th place in her 500m and 200m K2 with Jessie from Banbury.

Alex T and Sam B were first time in Boys C. Great results – 2nd and 3rd in their K2 500m and 200m and reaching finals in most of their K1 races (we won’t mention your swim on the finish line for the 1000m heat, Sam, and you’d almost won it!).

Dan and Fred were vying in Boys A/B K1 200m. So close, Dan winning it by 0.29 secs, so that was Reading 1st and 2nd. Dan was also 3rd in his 500m K1. Their K4 selection race was a heart stopper, so so close and just beaten by the other squad boat. So all to play for at the K1 European selection day on April 28th.

It was great to see Lee, Silke and Vicky ES on the water, racing, Silke gaining 5th in K1 200m and Silke with Vicky winning 2nd in their 200m K2. I know we’ll see many more Reading Masters at the May regatta.

And Jim had an amazing weekend of racing. He was up against all the top men in the country and reached finals for all his K1s and was 5th in his 200m K2 with Spencer Armstrong.

Well done to you all. And thank you to the great support crews, too.

Thameside 1 2018

Through the night the rain poured and the wind howled, but come the morning of Thameside 1, skies were blue and the sun shone. Thankfully, as it just took the edge off freezing temperatures.

Nigel and Bruno

50 K1s and 65 K2s took to the Kennet Canal over the next two hours and raced the 12 miles and 12 portages (or 14 if you didn’t squeeze under the low bridges) back to Reading Canoe Club. We were very lucky with the racing conditions – the aforementioned sunshine, plus a handy tail wind which only occasionally became a cross wind! That was until the Thames. Upstream against 40mph winds was not pleasant even for the hardiest crews.

The Hills

Great organisation from Dan S and his team. It all worked like clockwork. There were a handful of Reading crews among the entries, most notably Nigel with Annabel/Bruno (half and half) and Tant Hill with son Sam, who came 2nd and 3rd respectively in Junior Vets, Jim who came 2nd in K2 mixed, and Alex Tonkin and Sam Betts who came 5th and 8th in a tough field of Junior Men K1.

Timi and Nathan

British Canoeing’s Flat Water Racing Skills Training Day for Juniors

By Jim New

Reading Canoe Club was the proud host for British Canoeing’s first ever Flat Water Racing Skills training day. It was for Juniors, from Div 9 upwards, and was held on Saturday 13th January.

With over 60 children on the water from 20 clubs under the supervision of 13 coaches, it was a great success. Some had travelled far – Swansea for starters, Chester, too. All paddlers seemed to have great fun, as well as work really hard. Although the flow had dropped considerably, the less capable paddlers dealt with the conditions really well.

The day started with a briefing for the coaches to get them thinking about goal setting and talking through ideas. The first task they set their paddlers was six times 1000m efforts, each with a turn around a buoy at the 500m mark. Whilst that session was going on parents were having a talk on goal setting themselves and how to support their athlete children.

Lunch was provided by Simon, Seumas and Vicki – baked potatoes and hot filling of either chilli con carne or chickpea and tomato curry, which seemed to go down well and provide the necessary refuelling!

A second session comprised 200m efforts for the younger ones, while the older paddlers tried out the K4s. A near capsize from Sam Betts’ boat was thankfully averted when he momentarily let go of his paddles. The other K4 was stroked beautifully by Finlay Topham!

Overall the day was a huge success with great praise given to the club. Thank you to all who helped – from parking duty to mass catering and clearing up. Yet again we proved what a great club we are.

A special shout to Seumas for so much of the organisation.

Ladies Training Day at Reading Canoe Club

Saturday 14th October saw the first National Ladies Training Day since 2015. It was hosted by Reading Canoe Club, with volunteers from Reading and other clubs. Forty nine female paddlers, aged between 12 and 58, arrived early Saturday morning ready for action.

They came from 19 different clubs, from right across the country – from as far afield as Cornwall, Wales, Runcorn, Cambridge and Nottingham … as well as Reading. One paddler studying at Edinburgh University flew down specially for the occasion.

The first session of the morning was all in K1, with the participants divided into groups according to speed. We had seven coaches on the water from six different clubs, giving instruction on improving performance.

The next session was land based – a presentation on Strength & Conditioning, from Steph Morris. With a MSc in the subject and a great deal of experience, some of that with the rowing fraternity, she was enormously informative.


After lunch, there was a Q&A session. Nothing sedate about this, it was done in a special speed dating format! Who knew speed dating could be such fun and so illuminating?! We had five top female paddlers in the room and each table of 10 or so had 10 minutes to quiz them, before moving on to the next high-achiever. The five were Lizzie Broughton (just this year winning a Silver and Bronze in the Sprint World Cup in Portugal, winning the DW mixed K2 in 2015 taking the record and countless other medals in marathon too), Hayleigh Mason (just returned from the World Marathon Champs with a Bronze in K2 and with many other titles, including a Gold for K4 Sprints at the World Cup in 2011), Alice Murphy (another DW mixed K2 winner, Div3/Women’s B paddler, Level 2 coach driving high standards of coaching at Banbury canoe club and much more) , Dee Paterson (on the board of British Canoeing and British Para Olympics, with titles and GB representation across many disciplines including slalom, marathon, dragon boating, ocean racing and most recently, squirt boat World Championships) and Jo Bates (26 years paddling experienced, has raced for the GB team in both sprint and marathon, is lead coach at Falcon and just this year won Over-34s National Marathon title in K1). It was utterly fascinating and inspiring to converse with these five top-performing women and hear the different paths they have taken to achieve their phenomenal success.

Last on the schedule was the K2 session – the 21 K2 pairings expertly put together by the coaching team. All were new partnerships to make it even more interesting. Two 4k handicap races ensued, complete with portage. Terrific fun as had been the rest of the day.


The event had been masterminded by our own Kat Wilson, along with Alice Murphy and Lizzie Broughton on behalf of the MRC. They did a fantastic job, as did their band of helpers, including Tamsin and the kitchen team, who provided cake and hot drinks for break time, along with a hearty lunch of filled baked potatoes and salad, plus apple crumble and custard for pud.

When’s the next one? We can’t wait!

Summed up by Juliet Fookes of Devizes:
“Thank you SO much for Inviting me to THE MOST tremendous Ladies Day”