For the first time in Olympic history, New Zealand will race a K4 women’s team.
What's more, it will be an Olympic debut for the entire team: Aimee Fisher, Kayla Imirie, Jaimee Lovett and Caitlin Ryan.
The competition in the K4W 500m is fierce, with Hungarian Danuta Kozak looking to take her third Gold medal at these games. If successful she'll have the 500m full house having already won the K2 500m and K1 500m divisions.
The NZ Team will be hoping to finish in the top six – and absolutely stoked if they get in the top four.
All four women started their paddling journey in surf lifesaving, then moved into Canoe Sprint representative Youth Representative programs through Canoe Racing New Zealand (CRNZ).
CRNZ boss, Mark Weatherall envisioned the K4 format could be a great opportunity to give young paddlers a chance to compete at an international level – especially with representative spots dominated by the unstoppable Lisa Carrington.
NZ K4 Women Race the K4W 500m in Racice
While the current K4 Team have been paddling together for only about 18 months, the appointment of Danish Coach Rene Olsen by High Performance Sport NZ has seriously lifted their form. Olsen has combined European-style hardcore strength training with New Zealand’s inherent fitness skills to turn the girls into a real force.
The season highlight was a bronze in the K4W 500m race at the ICF World Cup in Racine.
We've been working a lot all summer - in the gym, the pool and on the lake - at being really fast off the line and it was really reassuring today [in Racine] see us beat the world champions off the line and hold them off for the first 50m of the race. Now we've shown we've got the speed to be up there with the best boats in the world, we can concentrate on the rest of our plan towards Rio.
Rene Olsen, Coach
What’s more, as a K2 pairing, Fisher and Lovett won Gold in the non-Olympic K2W 200m event at the ICF World Cup round in Racine. Watch the race replay here.
[Fisher] had the chance to race in one of the strongest fields assembled over the last few years and she showed she was not far behind, which is a great sign for the future. Rene Olsen
The Team has been spent the last few weeks training in Portugal against the Argentinian K4 Team.
Recently they played musical chairs, changing up the order in the boat, with Imrie moving to the No 2 seat and Ryan moving to the engine room at the back. Lovett will continue to steer the boat from the front, with Fisher at number 3.
The other big change will be the boat – they have upgraded to a Nelo K4 Cinco from a Nelo K4 Quattro.
The WK4 racing on Friday sees 14 teams race in 2 heats and 2 semifinals. There will be an A Final and a B Final on Saturday.
Heat 1 is scheduled to start Saturday, 00:37NZT, followed by Heat 2 at 00:44am.
Semifinal 1 starts 01:37 and Semifinal 2 at 01:44am.
Finals are raced Sunday morning NZT with the B Final scheduled for 00:40am followed by the A Final at 00:47am.
Heats: 1st goes directly to A Final. Rest go to Semifinals.
Semifinals: 1st to 3rd got to A Final. Rest go to B Final.
2 Kazakhstan: Zoya ANANCHENKO, Inna KLINOVA, Irina PODOINIKOVA and Natalya SERGEYEVA
3 France: Manon HOSTENS, Lea JAMELOT, Amandine LHOTE and Sarah TROE
4 Poland: Edyta DZIENISZEWSKA-KIERKLA, Beata MIKOLAJCZYK, Karolina NAJA and Marta WALCZYKIEWICZ
5 Belarus: Volha KHUDZENKA, Nadzeya LIAPESHKA, Maryna LITVINCHUK and Marharyta MAKHNEVA (BLR)
6 Great Britain: Rachel CAWTHORN, Louisa GURSKI, Rebii SIMON and Jess WALKER
7 New Zealand: Aimee FISHER, Kayla IMRIE, Jaimee LOVETT and Caitlin RYA
8 Argentina: Sabrina AMEGHINO, Magdalena GARRO, Alexandra KERESZTESI and Brenda ROJAS
2 China: Yue LI, Haiping LIU, Qing MA and Wenjun REN
3 Ukraine: Svitlana AKHADOVA, Inna HRYSHCHUN, Mariya POVKH and Anastasiia TODOROVA
4 Germany: Tina DIETZE, Sabrina HERING, Steffi KRIEGERSTEIN and Franzi WEBER
5 Hungary: Tamara CSIPES, Krisztina FAZEKAS-ZUR, Danuta KOZAK and Gabriella SZABO
6 Serbia: Nikolina MOLDOVAN, Olivera MOLDOVAN, Dalma RUZICIC BENEDEK and Milica STAROVIC
7 Denmark: Henriette HANSEN, Emma JORGENSEN, Amalie THOMSEN and Ida VILLUMSEN
8 Canada: Emilie FOURNEL, Kc FRASER, Andreanne LANGLOIS and Genevieve ORTON
Scott Martlew has competed his Rio Paralympic Dream with an eighth place finish in the A Final.