All posts by Reading Canoe Club

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.

Brian’s 70th Party

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!

Christmas Mix and Match K2 with breakfast

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.

Lee Valley Slalom

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.

Rowing Event – Saturday 12th October

Reading Rowing Club will be running the annual Small Boats Head on Saturday 12 October. There will be 3 divisions (starting 0930, 1230, and 1530), each with approx. 150 crews racing from near the Roebuck to just above our boathouse. As a consequence, the river is likely to be very busy (with both rowing boats and launches) for most of the day.