Main image: podium photo from the NZ K4 Facebook Page
The hard work is really paying off for our K4 Women's Team (Jaimee Lovett, Aimee Fisher, Caitlin Ryan and Kayla Imrie) who have picked up a bronze medal in the WK4 500m in the second round of the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup at Racice.
Coach Rene Olsen was very positive about the girl's result.
"They still have so much potential - the girls have shown that last year's improvement was not a one-year thing. They keep working hard and staying patient as a group and it's paying off."
The NZ Team was quick out of the blocks, staying right up there for the first half of the race, just +0.379 behind Ukraine and Germany at the 250m mark. Then Ukraine and Germany put on the gas, paddling hard into a slight headwind, stroke for stroke to a photo finish.
Although the Ukraine were the fastest qualifiers by 2 seconds, and also won Gold at Duisburg last week, Germany put everything into the race and it could not have been closer with Ukraine clocking 1:34.066 and Germany just 0.011 seconds (1:34.077) behind. NZ placed third in 1:35.833 (1.767 behind Ukraine) and easily ¾ of a boat-length in front of Demark, France and China.
The Bronze is a great improvement for the K4 girls who placed fifth in Round 1, Duisburg last week, although they were just 0.35 seconds off getting a medal. Current World and European Champions, Belarus did not race in Racice.
Jaimee Lovett was thrilled with the Team's progress.
“We're all very happy with our campaign, considering we haven't done too much speed-endurance work to get us through the middle and back end of the races. The team confident we will only go forward from here."
The K4 Team will head straight back to NZ to continue training for the Olympics, foregoing the final World Cup Round in Portugal.
Lisa Carrington and Marty McDowell head to World Cup 3 this weekend in Portugal. We can’t wait.
Over their World Cup campaign, the Women's K4 Team have consistently performed an eye-watering quick start off the blocks. A Gold Medal in the WK2 200m race by Lovett and Fisher highlights the power the WK4 Team has to work with.
Both coach and athletes have been dropping hints that the rest of the Team's Olympic build-up will focus on sustaining their speed over the 500m distance, or ‘speed-endurance’. They'll also want to maximise their power with a solid race plan.
But most promising of all is how relaxed and in synch with each other the girls are as a team. After only 18 months together, their improvement has been almost exponential. What an exciting time for NZ Kayaking!
Scott Martlew has competed his Rio Paralympic Dream with an eighth place finish in the A Final.