As a result of some fantastic individual and team event achievements at the State Canoeing Championship the Great Lakes canoeists defended their CHS State title as well as the all schools state title and returned home with both shields to decorate the college foyer.
From May 26-29 paddlers from 23 NSW schools faced new courses and different conditions for this year’s competition.
While the flatwater events still took place at Grafton on the Clarence River, Slalom, the whitewater and wildwater events were held at Mann River Recreation Reserve near Jackadgery.
The Great Lakes coaching team of Phil Koch and Suzanne Fiebig brought nine paddlers along to represent the Great Lakes College for the Combined High Schools (CHS) and all schools titles.
On the first day, Breanna Truett’s and Jock Sweeney’s hard training on Wallis Lake paid off as both took gold medals in the 5000 metre women’s and men’s K1 long distance race.
Overall, the day’s medal haul included nine golds and other medals in all 500 metre flatwater sprint events.
In the individual slalom events on the second day, Camden Ceccato took silver in both under 14 men’s C1 and K1 events, while open men’s division and women’s C1 and K1 were dominated by Alexander Fiebig, Breanna Truett and Makayla Randall.
Max Hamilton and Rudy Ferrer secured the gold in the under 16 men’s C2 500 metre whitewater sprints.
Team slalom events on the third day gave the paddlers the opportunity to showcase not only their expertise but their outstanding team spirit and enthusiasm.
The three K1 teams and two C1 teams gave it their all and were rewarded with silver medals.
The highlight was the open mixed C2 race which displayed the coordinated skills of six teammates paddling through 18 consecutive gates over the 250 metre long course, all finishing within 15 seconds of each other.
The Great Lakes C2 paddlers, Alexander and Camden, Makayla and Breanna and Jock andRudy, brought home team gold.
The down river long course event was held on the final day.
Our team showed their strength and stamina in their down river racing boats (DRRs), kayaks and canoes and won the full complement of medals.
In their first year of competition our two primary school participants, Sophia Sweeney and Dylan Ceccato showed their excellent skills, bravery and determination.
Sofia performed admirably against a large cohort of North Coast girls, positioning herself well for a great start at high school next year.
Dylan finished with the fastest time in the under 14 in his downriver race and performed sensationally in his K1 sprint, finishing second in the 14 year old class.
Captain of the canoe team and one of the three year 12 students at Great Lakes College competing in their last State Championship this year Breanna Truett was also awarded the 2018 CHS women’s State Champion trophy for winning the most points for individual events against all other State high school girls over the four days.
All competitors are now taking a well-deserved break over winter.
The season will resume at the end of term three in September.
If you are interested in joining the canoeing and kayaking club please contact Phil Koch at Great Lakes College, Forster Campus (Ph. 6554 6062).
The training venue is the Forster Marina on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons at 4pm.