While most of RCC paddlers were battling it out on the Thames at the Reading hasler, RCC junior Fred Kemp was representing GB at Piestany International Regatta.
Fred’s strongest performance is usually in 200m and this certainly proved to be so at this regatta. In K1 200m, he took first in both the heat and the semi-final and in the final fought his way to 5th. In the K2 200m with Alex Greaves (RLS), they won the heat, so went straight to final and there took a convincing Bronze medal.
The GB team did very well overall, coming home with three Silver and three Bronze medals overall.
The weather was kind and the enthusiasm high as teams gathered from Reading, Wokingham, Pangbourne, Southampton, Weybridge and Addlestone for the first K4 event of the year.
A change to the norm …
With a smaller field than usual entering the K4 race, the Club had decided to make it a single 5km handicap race, followed by 200m sprints. The teams were ranked according to their combined division for the handicap 5km race and two rockets were first to start.
Fastest boat on the water with a whizzy 19:10 mins was Reading’s Under 23 Div 3 boat of Imogen Collins, Jim New, Connor Macnab and Alex Sheppy. Not far behind were Southampton/Wey with a 19:50. While 3rd place went to Reading Vets Nik Topham, Yan Rasiborski, Kevin Smith and a mystery paddler.
200 metre sprints
After the 5km race, heats were drawn up for the 200-metre sprint. The 2 fastest from each heat went through to the semi finals, and the winners of these made the finals. There was a consolation final for the ‘losers’ too, so everyone got a chance to race more than once. It was all lots of fun, with the winning cup going to the speedy Reading crew again.
It was a great morning for all ages and abilities. Thanks to everyone who took part, the visiting teams for making it up to Reading and to the organisers. Here’s to the next one in October!!
Congratulations to the Reading Slalom paddlers for their success at Winchester Slalom on 14th May. Ten Reading paddlers competed in their very first slalom against other division 4 paddlers. Competition was fierce. Many of ours achieved clean, fast runs posting excellent times. Everybody deserves to be very proud of themselves for giving their best on the day.
Success was also achieved in a wave hopper competition – 750 metre dash down the river resulting in a 1st for Duncan Edwards and awards to Marc Gutteridge and Andy Field. Maybe more WWR racing in the future?
Special mention to….
Jodie Barker -1st in Div 4 K1 women, overall winner and promoted.
Natalie Neville – 2nd in K1 Div 4 women and promoted.
Andy Neville – 2nd in K1 Div 4 Men and promoted.
Duncan Edwards – 5th in K1 Div 4 Men and promoted.
Duncan Edwards – 1st in C1 Div 4 Men and promoted.
Andy Field – 1st in Open Class.
Here’s to an incredible achievement from all, well done!!
‘There’s nothing half so much worth doing as messing about in boats’, so said Water Rat in Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows – set nearby on the Thames.
For novices at Reading Canoe Club it can seem a little far away this ‘messing about’, as you are encouraged to join time trials and circuit training, core focus and rowing machine sessions to carefully calibrated rock music.
The offer of a ‘Gentle Social Paddle’ with a pub lunch sounds just the ticket to adjust the balance.
As usual for RCC the proceedings started at the crack of dawn. We were ordered to be at the club by 9 for drill with our paddle and life saver.
A friendly and expectant crowd milled around at the corner of The Warren where the club is located. Boats were loaded, lifts were arranged, satnavs coordinated. Suddenly the trailer rushed off – to deliver the boats to the start point and then to be parked by the finish at Abingdon. Several minutes later a very handsome canoe was brought to the road for loading. O dear! Too late! Back to the shed! I didn’t realise at the time this was ‘my’ boat.
North of Oxford the Thames is split into several streams and one of these near Wolvercote is our start point. One of the first to arrive spotted kingfishers flitting around the water by the bridge.
It was here I learned that, because a boat had been left behind, three of us would be allocated to a boat with two seats.
One of my co-canoers was desperate to get going – maybe to claim one of the two seats, so I felt obliged to join him. We floated around on the water, quite comfortably while others threatened us from the bank.
When Nigel was ready we floated off, pushing hard on the paddles. These Canadian canoes are steered by the person sitting at the rear. Me, I sat in front and just kept at it. I never saw what my steersman (or rather, steerswoman) did, but I could detect a little critical banter between our midshipman, perched on a pile of life vests in the middle of the boat, and the boss in the back. Eventually we got rid of the dissenter when he climbed over to another boat with three seats.
Well done to all RCC paddlers at this weekend’s regatta – a great set of results. Saturday was windy, a tail wind in fact, but those waves, particularly from 200m to the finish line, were not helpful! Still, our paddlers took all that in their stride and there were some great performances from Juniors and Masters alike.
Great to see our two Juniors promoted last regatta – Dan Atkins and Fran Boonham – racing really well in Boys B and Girls C respectively and getting into Finals every race. Our two Boys D paddlers, Sam Betts and Alex Tonkin, also did a brilliant job, getting into a final every race, and really pushing hard and accelerating into the finish. It was Finlay’s first regatta in Boys D and he raced well in both his 200m and 500m distances. Fred in Boys A put in good performances, particularly in his 200m K2 which was Mens A/Boys A combined. They came a 3rd.
We had a good show of Masters at this National Championships regatta, also getting into every final. A Bronze and a Silver each for Brian Hammond and Tom Hollins in their O34 K2 races. Well done to all our Masters – Nigel, Nik Topham, Tony Machin, Lee Atkins, Brian and Tom.
And it was a Birthday regatta for Lee too – hence two birthday cakes and a special Birthday swim … perfectly time for past the finish line!
Congratulations to all our Reading Canoe Club paddlers who competed at this year’s DW. The race boasted some of the best conditions seen for many years, but, whatever, it’s a grueling 125 mile race.
We had two star performers among the K1s – Ro Battison taking 1st Place in the Senior Ladies, with time 19:33:15. Radek, just back from cycling halfway round Australia, got into his boat and came an amazing 2nd in 16:17:02.
Special mention, too, to Conor Macnab (strictly speaking Pangbourne Club, but who also trains at RCC). At 17, he was the youngest K1 on the course and, competing against the Seniors, came a tremendous 27th (out of 75) in 20:21:25.
Out of 119 K2 Senior crews, Des Hayes with partner Ollie Shaw came an excellent 47th in time 24:05:39. Rachel Spanton and RAF’s Sarah Richter weren’t far behind in 57th completing the race in 24:40:15.
Brian Hammond, paddling with former RCC paddler Alison Galloway, was forced to retire after 17:12:40 because of his shoulder injury. That’s a hard call.
Gail Battison gives you the lowdown of Ro’s race and the grueling task of being the support crew. If you are thinking of participating as crew or competitor, it’s a must read. Thanks Gail.
When Rohan first suggested she may do the DW race I thought she was a bit over optimistic. She last did any real long distance paddling more than 15 years previous, and had spent the previous year recovering from a bad leg break after a skiing accident. I didn’t really give it much more thought until she went out and bought a K1 and entered the Waterside Series.
Her motivation was strong, she was paddling for a cause close to her heart, ‘Macmillan Cancer Support’ She started putting the miles in over the winter months, paddling from Gailey Canoe Club, with the occasional weekend down at Reading.