Wednesday 13 July 2011 | Published in Regional
Cook Islands siblings and canoe slalom athletes Ella and Bryden Nicholas arrived back in Dunedin yesterday after their 3 week race tour in Europe.
The aim of the trip north was to compete in two out of four of the world cup races and to continue their steady build up towards the world championships (an Olympic qualifying event) in September.
Competing in World Cup 1 in Ljubjlana, Slovenia as the first event they were both happy with their performance.
It was a cold rainy day after a week of sunshine making the conditions hard.
Ella finished 39th ahead of many paddlers ranked higher than herself.
The first race I was happy with, I made a small mistake which cost me a lot of time but overall in trainings and the rest of the race I felt like I was paddling more smoothly and consistently, says Ella.
The hard training I have been doing in freezing Dunedin seems to be paying off, I definitely feel like I have improved physically and technically.
Bryden now racing K1 (single kayak) placed 59th from 74.
I was pleased with my performance as I had an ok race and was only 12 seconds off the winners time and 3 seconds off making the semifinal cut off. With a good run I would have easily gone inside this. It was my first international race in this class after making a change from the double canoe and it gave me some confidence that I have more potential to do well if I keep up the training, added Bryden.
Bryden beat some big names in this performance including the Beijing Olympic bronze medalist.
After race 1 the athletes headed to Bratislava in Slovakia which is the venue for the World Champs in September and the first Olympic qualifying event.
Bryden came down with the flu and had to reduce the amount and intensity of his training.
The upside was that he was able to give Ella more coaching and feedback which will help when she returns for the World Championships.
Bryden started ranked 79th in the field and after producing two solid runs finished 60th moving up 19 places in the rankings.
Ella was also happy with her performance.
This course was very technical needing ultimate precision.
First run down the course proved tricky and she incurred two 50 second penalties.
After revising the video she corrected her errors for her second run and produced a solid run ending up in 49th.
The pair returned to their University studies in Dunedin where they were greeted by snow, wind and freezing conditions.
We will reflect on the races and adapt our training to get the most gains before Ella returns to Europe for the World Champs in 7 weeks.