World Cup Round 2 kicks off this Saturday in Racice, Czech Republic.
NZ will be represented by the Women’s K4 Team, Jaimee Lovett, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie. (Lisa Carrington and Marty McDowell head straight to Portugal to start training for World Cup 3.)
Coach Rene Olsen has been working hard, dissecting the Team’s performance during the World Cup 1 races last week in Germany, where they won a Bronze in the K4 200m and placed fifth in the K4 500m races.
"…We could see that we were the crew with the most distance per stroke, which shows that the girls really have the strength they need. It's much easier for us, over the last 75 days [before Rio], to gain the speed endurance than it is for the other crews to try to be stronger than they are right now." Olsen said.
Lovett and Fisher will first paddle the K2 boat, racing in the WK2 500m straight-final on Saturday night. They'll back it up with the WK4 500m heats and semi-finals later in the day (or morning, if your a NZ supporter!), with the A Final on Sunday.
Olsen is particularly happy with the development of the Team from talented amateurs into focused sports women.
"World Cup 1 really showed how far we have come, over the last nine months with our speed and our strength work," Olsen said, referring to the hard yards the girls have put in since qualifying for Rio at the World Champs.
"It was a much stronger appearance at international level - they just handled themselves way, way better. They're very disciplined and professional with what they're doing - you can really see they know what to do as a team and as individuals. They really believe they belong up there and they're not afraid of going out and giving the world champions a run for their money."
The time difference creates some crazy race times for NZ kayaking fans – but it will be well worth following the NZ Women's K4 Team in the final competition of their build up to Rio.
Photo from Nelo: Racine Canoe Centre, Czech Republic
WK2 500 Straight Final 10.28pm (NZT) Aimee Fisher/Jaimee Lovett
WK4 500 Heats 2.15am (NZT)
WK4 500 Semi-finals 4.55am (NZT)
WK4 500 A Final 8.24pm (NZT)
Canoe Racing New Zealand Facebook Page has news from inside the NZ Camp
Racice Website with all the info, in English
Canoe Sprint World Cup Racice Facebook Page has great photos of the course, as well as news from the event.
Currently the SKY TV schedule says the following Live Coverage:
Saturday, 28th May 2016, SKY Sport Pop Up Channel, 21:00
Sunday, 29th May 2016, SKY Sport 4, 19:30
Scott Martlew has competed his Rio Paralympic Dream with an eighth place finish in the A Final.