It’s been a busy few weeks of racing for me during the month of March and 1st weekend of April. The racing practice on a great course & on local turf, has been really great! It kicked off with KZN Sprint championships at Shongweni dam; I used this event as my first 500m training for the season as I know the big picture is in August. The weekend was topped up with some extra K2 racing with the junior sprint ace Donna Hutton. We decided to add more racing to the weekend which would benefit both of us in preparation for an international regatta which has a hard heat, semi and a final. Most of the time in South Africa the woman race a straight final. Donna and I had two great races in the 500m and the 200m so decided to carry this momentum over to the SA Championships the following weekend!
To book my place 100% for the Rio Olympics meant that this years SA championships required me to win the K1 500m which I qualified a birth for South Africa at the world championships in Milan, 2015.
I took a gamble in my training knowing that my focus had to still be on August and didn’t want to make too much of a peak for these championships, as its more important during the month of March to keep up the training momentum. My gamble paid off as I defended my SA K1 500m title again since 2009, I also took top honors in all the events I took part in with a narrow second in the K2 1000m.
The weekend following these two championships saw the cream of the School sprinters battling it out for top spots, I was lucky to be able to hand out medals on the second day of competition and watch all the rising paddling stars of our country racing each other. I had a wonderful day being able to relax after training and see so many youngsters enjoying the sport as well as many enthusiastic parents!
The African Championships was the third and final local sprint race on my calendar. I found this a very enjoyable event to attend, as I was able to witness the growth in the African countries since my first African championships in 2005. The level of the paddlers has improved and there are so many more countries competing and improving. It was exciting to see the emotions on the other paddlers’ faces that have now also booked a place for themselves at the Rio Olympics. I also really enjoyed hearing our national anthem playing many times over while the flag is hoisted into the air.
I have continued my biokinetics sessions with Nicki Irvine as well as 2 running sessions a week with the Save Orion club. I’ve also had continued physio treatments with Garth Oliver from EAP. I have also started to do focus more closely on my technique adding some good video & training sessions with Craig Mustard on the water and a few technique sessions with Attila Adrovicz
I have enjoyed training at NCC recently with so many familiar friendly faces. The weather has been great and I have had a mix of great training partners too. I sure will miss this on my next venture to Europe. I leave next week for a three-week camp in Zagreb, Croatia. I will train with a friend Spela Ponomarenka-Janic who has also qualified for her 3rd Olympic games. There after I will compete in two world cup events, in Germany & Czech Repulblic.
See you all in 5 weeks, think of me during the weekends of racing as my final preparations towards Rio become more exciting and real!