Royal canoeists back on the water after floods

Following the wettest winter on record, which resulted in the Thames at Kingston being on Red Boards since the 3rd week of December, Team Royal have finally returned to the water, writes Dylan Todd

Gemma, Nicole, Laura, Maia and Renee took part in the Spring Sprint Profiling Day at Nottingham on Saturday 15th March. Fierce crosswinds made the time-trials and grouped races tricky as the top junior coaches looked on and took notes. Athletes were timed over two 75m grouped races, a 250m grouped race and a 5k time-trial. Wind corrected times will be published shortly and will update the provisional times which can be seen here.   
Wey Kayak Club hosted back-to-back events on the 22/23 March. Saturday saw well over 80 paddlers take part in the Wey Sprint Regatta.
The 10 racers who made up Team Royal took advantage of the calm conditions and posted some quick times over the 2k time-trial and 1,000m, 500m and 200m grouped races. Particular credit must go to Phil Carter who, having only taken up canoeing in 2013, and along with Gemma Brown and Laura Ruff achieved a clean sweep of the podium in heat 3.
Renee was the 2nd fastest girl overall behind London Olympian Abi Edmonds, and kept pace with the older male paddlers in her races. Ptolemy, who was racing in the 2nd Lightening heat, came 1st, 3rd and 2nd in the 1k, 500m and 200m (respectively) which was impressive since many of those on the start line were often 2 years older. Lauren Avery and Ellen Slack also raced against much older paddlers but were strong enough to finish in 2nd or 3rd in their heats in all 3 grouped races which was outstanding.
The following morning 5 Team Royal boats returned to Wey Kayak Club to take part in the 4th Hare & Hounds time-trial. Keira, Maia and Laura looked confident over the 10k course and provisional results strongly suggest they each achieved PBs. Tony Ruff came 6th following an interclub battle with the K2 of Gemma Brown and Renee Myburgh who wrestled for the racing line just above the 1st portage. Tony had attempted to add extra weight to the swift K2 but the tactic was rumbled shortly before the start. Gemma and Renee, minus the extra weight in their boat, took 2nd place overall, clearly motivated by their coach Trevor Weatherall who said he’d give them each £1 if they got under 48mins. Unfortunately for Trev they posted 45:49.
Photos from both the sprint regatta and the Hare & Hounds have been posted on the Royal Canoe Club Facebook page.
The next race will be the final Hare & Hounds of the 2013/14 season and will take place on Sunday 30th March otherwise known as Mother’s Day!