World Champs – Coaches Blog Friday.
The GB team assembled at the Classic race start to contemplate the team event race. To open the days proceedings, the Canadian Singles team of Hamilton/Hunt/Houston set off. With the 3 men very close on the individual race the experienced pair set to maximise the speed of slalom specialist Andrew Houston. Mr Hamilton led the charge setting the pace with a tight formation leading to a faster time than the previous day’s best.
The Ladies team of Brown/Campbell/Oxtoby rattled off the start in most credible performance coming in as 5th team.
Next off was Cresser/Miller/Anderson working hard in a highly competitive and close run field. The final placing of 6th was an excellent result from 15 teams.
Following the mornings racing was some well-earned rest and food before last chance practice on the stunning gorge sprint course, ahead of the Worlds Sprint on Saturday.
Evening was the classic medal ceremony and time to get rest ahead of the sprint event.
Saturday 4th – WWR Sprint Worlds
The speed specialists assembled in what promised to be a tantalising day of fast and furious racing, with 30 second gaps giving good spectator value for the assembled masses. The team converged at the classic start for a group warm up to the sprint course and then some last minute refinement of lines.
The day lived up to expectations with some great GB results for this largely young team.
The Men’s K1 hunted the 15 final qualification spots with Grant Anderson setting a highly competitive opening run. The boys narrowly missed the cut off.
Canadian singles continued to be solid performers with Andy Hamilton continuing his recent form to hold as top GB Sprinter. The ladies C1 race produced a nail biting performance by new athletes Rachel Houston missing the final by a single spot and narrow margins.
Ed and Jamie in the C2 thumped down the course in an impressive time for such a new pairing, and in Women’s C1 Rachel Houston also a novice racer having transitioned from slalom, proved that the new squad have massive potential with another class run missing the final qualification by so little and being the cut off……A wonderful first outing.
So that leaves the Ladies K1……… Great runs by Morna Campbell and Lydia Oxtoby secured the team event placings closely run by Louise Revell. However the blue ribbon went to Hannah who after the first run was needing another 2 seconds to be in the mix…..was this possible….well yes !!! The gas was upped for an electric performance posting the 2nd fastest time of the day in the ladies and into the final.
The Final Ladies K1
With the entire GB team assembled in support, the eyes of the team were firmly on Hannah Brown and a single run in the final. The race was held at 9pm in a flood lit gorge. With a medal a very real possibility the expectations were palpable….. Hannah’s run was near perfect off the start and explosive through the entire first half.
Towards the end of the final rapid a small mistake provided a costly correction, with Hannah crossing the line in first place with now the result determined by the final 5. The next 3 crossed the line all slower and with a guaranteed medal the eyes were on the screen for the final two with the margins into the 100s….. The next was quarter a second behind and now with one to go the clock froze for a moment as the team held their breath…… by 002 of a second Hannah was WORLD CHAMPION.
Final Day…..Sprint Teams and Coaches Reflections.
The World Championships 2016 ended for Great Britain with the Sprint Team Race.
The C1s led the way in 7th Place and the Ladies followed with a 5th just missing the medals hunt. The Men pushed hard, also being pushed just out of contention.
In terms of team event reflections, the C1s have more progress to bridge the gap with the top performers. The threesome worked well as a team and were most competent on the water. With new blood in the discipline I look with interest to next year. The stand out performer was Andy Hamilton who really had a fantastic all round trip and looked as good as most top paddlers on the rough. Mr Houston so new to the discipline is one to watch so close so soon…..
The Ladies were a group so full of promise and delivered with both a World Champion and rise in standard over the past year moving into the mid pack.
Rachel Houston in ladies C1 in many ways was the find of the trip. Having made the transition only months ago from slalom her classic result was near to the brits C1 times and as a percentage better. An excellent achievement.
It was a shame to only sport the single C2 with one pulling out, however the new crew were impressive on the water.
Men’s K1 is now starting to see a progression in pushing the sprint finals and the top 10 positions. With Ricky and Phil young and a fast developing under 23 group I suspect we will see good things to come.
As a team we do need to continue to close the percentage gap and also need consideration to more team event practice.
To finish I would say the team as a collective were focused and very much a functioning unit, in the true team sense of the word. They behaved and performed to a level where their nation can be proud.
A big thank you to the coaches, drivers and helpers who both assisted me in this event and the 2 years leading to this.
Paul Anderson – Head Coach GB WWR