Australian Slalom Championships
Warwick Draper, of Victoria, showed his skill on the Upper Mersey today, winning the Australian Mens Kayak Slalom Championships in a very close race. The 2004 Olympian finished just one and a half seconds ahead of NSW paddler Anthony Brown. Warwick completed the course in 172.98 seconds, to Anthony’s 174.41 seconds. The third fastest paddler overall in the Mens Kayak was Under 22 paddler, Sam Lyons, of NSW, in 175.61 seconds. As a top junior paddler in the UK, Sam moved to Australia just a few years ago with his parents and has quickly risen to the elite level within Australia.
Ben Jones, NSW, was the fastest junior paddler, finishing in a time of 186.64 seconds.
In the teams events, the interstate rivalry created excellent racing with the honours well shared between the major states. In the Mens Open kayak, the Victorian team of Warwick Draper, Andy Farrance and Chris Guinea narrowly beat NSW by less half a second. The Ladies kayak paddlers reversed this result, with NSW paddlers Amanda Pain, Kate Lyons and Jackie Lawrence finishing ahead of the Victorian team. In Mens canoe, Victoria finished in front of the WA team.
The excellent results and depth of competition seen in the fields competing in the slalom championships shows the success of the development and coaching programs being run in Victoria and NSW for canoe/kayak slalom.
Today’s racing saw the end of the 10-day Australian Whitewater Championships for 2006. The elite Australian slalom paddlers will now move to Brady’s Lake in central Tasmania to take part in a training camp.
With about 250 competitors and an equal number of family and supporters, the event has drawn many visitors to small NW Tasmanian towns and showcased the superb natural paddling venues offered by Tasmania.