Sprint canoeing and kayaking requires an athlete who combines strength with the ability to call on explosive bursts of power, endless reserves of stamina and precision balance to keep afloat. The sort of specialist training required for such a sport is combined with cutting edge physiological research at AIS to allow coaches to create appropriate training regimes.
First admitted to the Olympic Games in 1936, men’s canoeing wasn’t seen again at Olympic level for another twelve years. In 1948, women’s kayaking was introduced and both crafts are now raced at this level. Using a shorthand which denotes the type of craft and the number of occupants, men compete at 500m and 1000m races in K1, K2, C1 and C2 classes as well as the K4 over 1000m. Women’s 500m races are in three different kayak types, namely K1, K2 and K3.
One of the challenges of these sports is the requirement to remain at least 5m from the closest boat and in the centre of your lane. The training facility for the AIS for Sprint Canoe/Kayak is located in the Gold Coast’s Mermaid Waters. Initially a residential program, it grew into a camp-based one as athletes from across the country flew in to train for weeks at a time under Australian Canoeing National Performance Director Richard Fox.