Women’s K4 spearheads Australian team selected for 2018 Sprint World Championships

Following a stunning Australian record-breaking silver medal at the Canoe Sprint World Cup in Szeged, Hungary (20 May 2018), the women’s K4 500m of Rio Olympians Alyce Burnett (QLD), Alyssa Bull (QLD), London Olympian Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW) and Jaime Roberts (WA) have been selected to represent Australia at the 2018 ICF Sprint World Championships in Montemor o Velho, Portugal from 23-26 August 2018.

The K4 spearheads a strong Australian women’s team that also includes South Australians Cat McArthur and Josephine Bulmer. Cat McArthur won her first Senior international medal at the ICF Sprint World Cup in Duisburg (26 May) in the K1 1000m, while 21-year old Josie Bulmer made her first ever Senior final in C1 200 with the boat class to premier at the Olympic program in Tokyo 2020.

The Australian sprint men’s team will see dual Olympian and London 2012 gold medallist Murray Stewart (NSW), Rio Olympians Jordan Wood (QLD) and Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW), returning Olympian Steve Bird (WA) as well as 18-year old new-comer Tom Green contest the Sprint World Championships.

The 2018 Sprint team selection followed a strong Australian performance at the 2018 ICF Sprint World Cups 1 and 2 in Szeged, Hungary (18-20 May 2018) and Duisburg, Germany (25-27 May 2018) over the last couple of weeks.

The Australian women’s K4 500 crew only came together just over two months ago and surprised themselves with a stunning silver medal at the ICF World Cup in Szeged, Hungary. In the process they also set the fastest ever time for an Australian women’s K4 500 crew (1:30.472).

Alyce Burnett, Alyssa Bull and Jaime Roberts all paddled together in 2017, and for this year’s World Cup season they added experienced Olympian Jo Brigden-Jones with the team adding a fifth place at the World Cup in Duisburg.

“We’ve been focussing on the K4 this World Cup season and it has paid off. We decided after nationals to give the K4 a red hot crack, but to be honest it first didn’t gel as well together quite the way we expected and we had to go right back to the basics, but we couldn’t be happier how it all penned out. To come away with a silver in Szeged was more than we expected and the 1:30 topped it off,” Alyce Burnett said.

“We are still a new crew and still have things to work on, but we proved to ourselves that we have the ability and it’s a great building block for next year (Olympic qualification) and then hopefully the year after (Tokyo 2020). We want to qualify the K4 for Tokyo and to be part of that would be awesome,“ Burnett added about the confidence boosting World Cups.

Brigden-Jones, who was a member of the 2011 crew that set the previous fastest time for an Australian K4, said the World Cup results were a great start for the new crew. “The boat feels really good,” she said. “We were kind of struggling when we first got in the boat, but we knew we just had to break it down to build it back up again. The race we did in Szeged was the fastest time we’ve ever done in an Australian K4 team. It’s been awesome to paddle with the girls. I have been around for a long time (15 yrs) and I have been wondering these last few years if I have got another good international performance in me. But to come to the World Cups and step it up with these girls and to have a good building block is really exciting.”

Final boat classes for the World Championships will yet be decided for the women’s kayaking squad, who are coached by dual Olympic medallist Anna Wood and are back in Australia for a training block at the Gold Coast. The team will head back over to Europe mid-July which will mark two years to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

And Tokyo 2020 is what it’s all about Alyce Burnett explains, “as the female Australian team, our main goal collectively is to have the best possible result come Tokyo 2020. If that means we are needed in one boat or three boats. And personally, I rather do one boat really well than two boats medium well. At this point in time, we don’t know what boats we will finally be racing in and that’s why we were trialling a few things at the World Cups and testing the waters. But a lot of things can still change over the two years until Tokyo 2020.”

Tokyo 2020 is also on the mind of Josie Bulmer, who impressed in the women’s C1 200 and will join the World Championships kayaking team, finishing seventh in her first ever A-final on the Senior sprint circuit.

The women’s canoe classes will premier on the Olympic program in Tokyo 2020 and in her second year of international competition, 21-year old Bulmer has shown an impressive improvement in her performance.

“I’m still fairly new to this and I hopefully will keep going up and up, but everytime I get a PB it’s pretty exciting,” Bulmer said after her first Senior A-final. “I’ve knocked a few seconds off on last year and am excited to see where I’m at this year and I’m definitely feeling more confident after the two World Cups. It’s a massive learning experience and it’s good to have a lot of the older athletes around to get advice from.

And about the international women’s canoe field as a whole she added, “It’s good to see the women’s C1 squad developing so strongly and it only puts the pressure on me to get better as well. It’s exciting to be part of something new and growing. The Olympics are definitely on my mind and my goal.”

Bulmer will first race the ICF U23 Sprint World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (26-29 July), before re-joining the Senior A team.

In the men’s sprint team, Riley Fitzsimmons and Jordan Wood impressed selectors after winning two bronze medals in both the K2 1000 and K2 500 at the World Cup in Duisburg. They will be joined on the team by veteran Murray Stewart, Steve Bird, who is back after a one-year break post the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as well as team youngster Tom Green.

“Winning a couple of medals in the A finals has been great and a good stepping stone towards the World Champs in August. The main goal at the World Cups was to race everyone we can, get a lot of race practice under the belt and find consistency in our racing. The more races and pressure we can put ourselves under, the better it will be come August when it really counts at Worlds and we hope we can keep improving until then,” Riley Fitzsimmons said.

The men’s team will finish their training camp in Munich this week and head back to Australia as well. “We’re still mixing around boats and trying a few things. Once we are back home we will have a week off before getting some kms in at the Gold Coast before August.”

“I’m really optimistic in regard to the ability of our program, and where the boys are at to be able to build a strong K4 over the next two years and also over the next 12 months as we run into Olympic qualification come next year,” National Sprint Coach Jimmy Owens said.

“We’ve got a great squad and the likes of Kenny (Ken Wallace) and Lachie (Lachlan Tame) will also come back next season. They are quality athletes and Olympic medallists and everyone knows they are sitting on the backburner getting ready and getting set for a big campaign moving forward towards 2020.”

And focussing on Tokyo 2020 Owens added, “The journey to Tokyo has properly started now and we’ve come away from the World Cups with some good racing. We had a good kick-start in the men’s K4 500 with the boys doing well, Riley (Fitzsimmons) and Jordan (Wood) did a really good job in the K2 and Muzza (Murray Stewart) has been underlining his credentials by being at the front in the A-finals. Where the program for the men sits is really good and we’ve also seen some strong results in the women’s races.”

“I think the team has really stepped up over the last twelve months in terms of its positioning on the podium and the A finals. Coming away from the World Cups we will now reset and reboot in terms of where we need to get to for Worlds and that’s very important for our direction towards Tokyo 2020,” Owens added about the plans ahead.

The Australian Olympic sprint paddlers will train in Australia until mid-July before heading back over to Europe for a training block and the Sprint World Championships. In Europe, they will be joined by the Paracanoe team at the end of July with both Olympic and Paralympic teams contesting the 2018 ICF Sprint World Championships.

2018 Sprint World Championships Team

Montemor o Velho, Portugal from 23-26 August 2018: https://www.canoeicf.com/canoe-sprint-world-championships/montemor-o-velho-2018

Men’s Sprint Team

Jordan Wood (QLD)

Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW)

Murray Stewart (NSW)

Steve Bird (WA)

Tom Green (QLD)

Women’s Sprint Team

Alyce Burnett (QLD)

Alyssa Bull (QLD)

Jaime Roberts (WA)

Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW)

Cat McArthur (SA)

Josephine Bulmer (SA)

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Bull takes gold and Burnett bronze in 5000 final at World Cup

Australian Canoeing’s ‘AB’s’- Alyssa Bull and Alyce Burnett – have picked up gold and bronze in the K1 5000 on the final day of the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Duisburg, Germany (25- 27 May 2018).

The two medals brought the total Australian medal tally to five – one gold and three bronze – after Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW) and Jordan Wood (QLD) won two bronze medals in both the men’s K2 1000 and 500m. South Australian Cat McArthur added another bronze in the women’s K1 200m. 

In one of the final races of the weekend, Rio 2016 Olympians Bull and Burnett were split by Sweden’s Linnea Stensils, who spent the Australian summer training with Bull (QLD) and Burnett (QLD) on the Gold Coast.

Bull and Stensils cleared out at the half-way point of the race, with Burnett involved in her own battle for third.

Bull, the current World U23 K1 1000 champion, said there was a good understanding with the Swede.

“We set it up well, we took turns leading, it was a good little race,” she said.

“You never know how they are going to pan out.”

Burnett said the trio had discussed a race strategy before the event began, and it had gone mostly to plan.

“I came around on the first corner of the 2k, and there was a bit of a move made and I couldn’t hold up my end of the bargain,” she said.

“In a 5k you try and pair up a bit, but I was on the far end of the start line so I had a bit of work to do. I was glad to see Bully take up the lead.”

In other results on the final day, the Australian women’s K4 with Alyssa Bull, Alyce Burnett, Jaime Roberts (WA) and Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW) finished fifth in the K4 500 final, and look set to contest the World Championships in Portugal later this year.

“To come away with a silver last weekend (ICF Sprint World Cup 1) and a fifth this weekend is pretty special,” Burnett said.

“We’re going to be racing the K4 at world’s, once we get the official nod. It’s really good to have us four together and have a solid block, and who knows what might happen next year.”

Murray Stewart (NSW) finished sixth in the men’s K1 500, Josephine Bulmer (SA) seventh in her first ever international C1 final, and returning Olympian Steve Bird (WA) was ninth in the K1 200.

The men’s K4 with Matt Goble (SA), Billy Bain (QLD), Tom Green (QLD) and Simon McTavish (NSW) just missed the A final finishing the heat in fourth, but went on to win their B-Final.

The Team will return to Australia, before heading over to Europe again in a couple of months to contest the ICF World Sprint Championships in Montemor o Velho Portugal from 23 – 26 August 2018.

See full list of Australian results below and all the 2018 ICF CANOE SPRINT WORLD CUP 2 results here: https://www.canoeicf.com/canoe-sprint-world-cup/duisburg-2018/

See Friday’s media release here: http://canoe.org.au/2018/05/26/bronzed-aussies-continue-medal-streak-for-canoe-sprint-team/

See Saturday’s media release here: http://canoe.org.au/2018/05/27/aus-keeps-european-medal-streak-running/

Men’s Events  Athletes Result
K1M – 200 Stephen Bird (WA) Final A – 9th
K1M – 500 Murray Stewart (NSW) Final A – 6th
K2M – 500 Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW)

Jordan Wood (QLD)

Final A – 3rd
K4M – 500 Matthew Goble (SA)

William Bain (QLD)

Thomas Green (QLD)

Simon McTavish (NSW)

Final B – 1st
K1M – 1000 Murray Stewart (NSW)

Simon McTavish (NSW)

Final B – 1st

Final B – 7th

K2M – 1000 Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW)

Jordan Wood (QLD)

Final A – 3rd
William Bain (QLD)

Thomas Green (QLD)

Final B – 1st
Women’s Events
K1W – 200 Catherine McArthur (SA) Semi-Final 7th
K1W – 500 Alyce Burnett (QLD)

Alyssa Bull (QLD)

Final A – 6th

Final B – 1st

K4W – 500

 

Alyssa Bull (QLD)

Alyce Burnett (QLD)

Jaime Roberts (WA)

Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW)

Final A – 5th

 

K1W – 1000 Catherine McArthur (SA) Final A – 3rd
K1W – 5000

 

Alysa Bull (QLD)

Alyce Burnett (QLD)

1st

3rd

C1W – 200 Josephine Bulmer (SA) Final A – 7th
C1W – 5000 Josephine Bulmer (SA) 4th

Find video interviews with the athletes on www.facebook.com/australiansprintslalom

See Australian Canoeing highlights clips here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8YbV5gQ24u3hcn889R6Ks7-QnJ9W1Ho5

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Australia keeps the European medal streak running in Germany

A second medal for Jordan Wood and Riley Fitzsimmons and another strong performance from the K4 500 women’s team were the Australian highlights on day two of the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Duisburg on Saturday (27 May).

Wood (QLD) and Fitzsimmons (NSW) backed up their K2 1000 bronze medal from Friday with another bronze, this time in the K2 500, on Saturday.

There were only centimetres separating the first three boats, but the Australians were thrilled to be among the medals again after running into trouble at the start.

“We kind of fumbled the start a little bit, which is not too concerning in a 500, but it kind of is,” Fitzsimmons said.

“I’m pretty happy that we came back from that horrendous start and managed to climb over a few crews in the last 50, which were really positive signs.”

Wood said he and Fitzsimmons had made strong improvement, even in the space of one week.

“Just the way we approached that was different to the race last week,” he said.

“Apart from our start, which we weren’t too stoked with, I think it was a better tactic.”

The women’s K4 shocked even themselves in Szeged one week ago by taking silver in the final, but showed their form has held up with a convincing win in their heat in Duisburg on Saturday.

The result qualifies the boat straight into Sunday’s final.

“We just wanted to put another good race together like we did last weekend,” Alyssa Bull (NSW) said.

“We just wanted to keep that ball rolling, and it’s great that we could come away with a win.”

Alyce Burnett (QLD) said last week’s result has given the team a new feel, but they are making sure they don’t get carried away.

“Now that we’ve got a bit of confidence it does feel a bit different, but we don’t want to be over confident,” Burnett said.

“We spoke about just going through the processes, and I think that last weekend not having that pressure and expectation was really good.

“We’re just trying to replicate that again. We are still a new crew, and still things to learn from, so we’ll just see how we go.”

In other results, Alyce Burnett finished sixth in the K1 500 final, Alyssa Bull won the B final of the same race, and Murray Stewart (NSW) won the B final of the men’s K1 1000, with Simon McTavish finishing seventh in the same race.

Josie Bulmer (SA) won through to the semi-finals of the women’s C1 200, Stephen Bird (WA) is into the semis of the K1 200, and Friday’s bronze medallist in the women’s K1 1000 Cat McArthur (SA) qualified for the semi-finals of the women’s K1 200.

The Australian men’s team will contest the semi-final of the K4 500.

Racing racing resumes today, Sunday 27 May 2018 for the final day of the ICF Sprint World Cup 2 (25-27 May 2018).

For live stream and results see here

RESULTS FINAL A

WOMEN’S K1 500

1 STENSILS Linnea (SWE)  48.285

2 PULAWSKA Anna (POL)   48.342

3 GUYOT Sarah (FRA)  48.473

4 OSTERMAN, Anja (SLO)  48.617

5 MLADKOVA, IVana (SVK) 49.386

6 BURNETT, Alyce (AUS)  49.485

MEN’S K2 500

1  GELLE/BOTEK                 (SVK)   1.28.627

2 MATVEEV/POULIN          (CAN)   1.28.854

3 FITZSIMMONS/WOOD    (AUS)    1.28.854

 

Highlights clip men’s K2 1000m (Friday) – bronze medal Riley Fitzsimmons and Jordan Wood

Highlights clip women’s K1 1000m (Friday) – bronze medal Cat McArthur 

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Bronzed Aussies continue medal streak for Canoe Sprint Team

The Australian Canoe Sprint team has followed up its outstanding form at the opening event of their international season one week ago with another two bronze medals on the opening day of the second ICF World Cup in Duisburg, Germany, on Friday.

Olympians Jordan Wood (QLD) and Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW) showed they can match it with the best in the world with a close third in the men’s K2 1000, while Cat McArthur (SA) underlined her versatility with a hard-fought bronze in the women’s K1 1000 and winning her first ever Senior medal.

Wood and Fitzsimmons set themselves a tough opening day in Duisburg, racing in the K2 500 and K2 1000, but showed they had learned a lot since finishing out of the medals in the longer race in Szeged last week.

“It’s probably the most rewarding bronze we’ve ever won, to be honest,” Fitzsimmons said.

2015 we raced this exact regatta and won the B final, and here we are in 2018 winning a medal in the A final.

“We’re pretty happy with that bronze. It’s a good stepping stone towards August (the 2018 World Championships).

Wood said they took a different attitude into this week’s competition.

“It wasn’t so much our race, it was more the way we approached it,” he said.

“We just tried to smooth the race out a lot. Every race you do is always a learning curve. AS long as you take something away from every race you do, and hopefully build that into one big game-day race.”

Wood and Fitzsimmons will contest the K2 500 final on Saturday (26 May) after qualifying straight through in their heat.

McArthur has added the K1 1000 to the K1 200 she raced in Szeged last weekend, and showed she is equally at home over the longer distance by winning her first ever senior medal.

It was also a confidence boost for the South Australian after she watched her former K4 teammates win World Cup silver last weekend.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” she said.

“I guess with last week’s champion performance from our K4 girls I felt a little bit lost and left out in the celebrations.

“I really wanted to come out here this week and show them that I’m ready to join the team, and to keep driving that result higher. I want to be part of it.”

“I always know that I’m going to be better at the front end, so for me personally it was all about relaxing and finding a good rhythm and connection,” she said.

“I had a sneaky look with about 250 to go, and I saw there were only two girls on my right, and then a big gap, so I told myself to go again.

“But the 1000 hurts. I’m really stinging.”

In other results on the first day of competition, Olympians Alyce Burnett (QLD) and Alyssa Bull (QLD) made it through to Saturday’s K1 500 semi finals with Burnett qualifying first and Bull third in the heat.

In the men’s K2 1000 Queenslanders Billy Bain and Tom Green just missed out of the final after finishing fourth in the semi final.

Murray Stewart (NSW) and Simon McTavish (NSW) finished third and fourth respectively in their K1 1000m heats advancing through to Saturday’s semi finals. Stewart also progressed to the semi final in the men’s K1 500 after finishing third in his heat.

The second ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup continues in Duisburg on Saturday.

See all results here: https://www.canoeicf.com/canoe-sprint-world-cup/duisburg-2018/

Results A Finals:

WOMEN’S K1 1000

1   BROUGHTON Lizzie (GBR)      3.58.718

2   JOHANSSON  Karin (SWE)      4.00.149

3   MCARTHUR   Catherine (AUS)  4.02.739

 

MEN’S K2 1000

1   HOFF/GROSS (GER)               3.11.974

2   GELLE/BOTEK (SVK)               3.13.744

3   FITZSIMMONS/WOOD (AUS)   3.14.557

Silver lining gives Australians confidence for Sprint World Cup Duisburg

A surprise silver medal for the Australian women’s K4 500 sprint canoe team at last weekend’s first Sprint World Cup of the 2018 season in Hungary (18-20 May) has filled the entire team with confidence as they head into the second ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup, beginning tonight in Duisburg, Germany (25-27 May 2018).

The K4 combination of Alyce Burnett (QLD), Alyssa Bull (NSW), Jaime Roberts (WA) and Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW) finished a gallant second behind a world-class New Zealand team in Szeged last week, despite only two full months of preparation as a team.

The Australians will have the same athletes competing this weekend, including two-time Olympian Murray Stewart (NSW) in the K1 500 and K1 1000, former World U23 K2 1000 champions and Olympians Jordan Wood (QLD) and Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW), as well as 2016 Olympians Burnett and Bull both in the K1 500.

Another one looking to build on her strong performance from Szeged will be Australia’s lone canoe paddler, Josie Bulmer (SA), who will line up in the C1 200 and C1 5000.

It’s Bulmer’s second year on the Australian team.

“I was happy with last week,” Bulmer said on the eve of her first ever competition in Duisburg.

“My semi-final wasn’t the best, but I came back nicely in the B final, which I was happy with.

“I felt a lot more confident, especially after my heat. My start is a lot better than last year.”

Cat McArthur (SA) will race the K1 200 and the K1 1000, while Bull and Burnett have both also signed up for the grueling K1 5000.

Billy Bain (QLD) and Tom Green (QLD) will join Fitzsimmons and Wood in the K2 1000, Simon McTavish (NSW) will join Stewart in the K1 1000, and McTavish, Green, Bain and Matt Goble (SA) will once again race the K4 500.

Wood and Fitzsimmons will also contest the K2 500, while two-time Olympian Stephen Bird (WA) will have his second outing since returning from retirement in the K1 200.

“We had some encouraging performances at the first Sprint World Cup in Hungary last week. Obviously we like to win some medals and the K4 women brought it home and finished the regatta well for us,” Shaun Stephens, Australian Canoeing’s National Performance Director said after the first Sprint World Cup.

“It was really encouraging to see Riley and Jordan mix it up with the international best and finish fifth in both the K2 500 and 1000. We had high expectations for them and certainly our belief is that they are well and truly medal contenders against the field and their performance in Hungary warrants that sort of expectation.

Murray is certainly right on form, just outside the medals with fourth and fifth in the K1 1000 and 500 and obviously the women are going from strength to strength.

So all in all there were some very positive signs coming out of the first World Cup and encouraging results moving forward. We do want more medals and the first regatta showed that we are on track to deliver those, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” Stephens added ahead of Duisburg.

The second ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup begins in Duisburg, Germany, tonight, and runs through until Sunday (27 May 2018.)

Full details, including start lists, schedules, results and live streaming of the races, can be found here.

See some highlights from Sprint World Cup 1 here.

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See full list of Australian competitors at the 2018 ICF CANOE SPRINT WORLD CUP 2

Men’s Events
K1M – 200 Stephen Bird (WA)
K1M – 500 Murray Stewart (NSW)
K2M – 500 Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW)

Jordan Wood (QLD)

K4M – 500 Matthew Goble (SA)

William Bain (QLD)

Thomas Green (QLD)

Simon McTavish (NSW)

K1M – 1000 Murray Stewart (NSW)

Simon McTavish (NSW)

K2M – 1000 Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW)

Jordan Wood (QLD)

William Bain (QLD)

Thomas Green (QLD)

Women’s Events
K1W – 200 Catherine McArthur (SA)
K1W – 500 Alyssa Bull (QLD)

Alyce Burnett (QLD)

K4W – 500

 

Alyssa Bull (QLD)

Alyce Burnett (QLD)

Jaime Roberts (WA)

Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW)

K1W – 1000 Catherine McArthur (SA)
K1W – 5000

 

Allysa Bull (QLD)

Alyce Burnett (QLD)

C1W – 200 Josephine Bulmer (SA)
C1W – 5000 Josephine Bulmer (SA)