Caitlin Gilliman and Josie Bulmer
Australian senior, U23 and junior athletes have dominated the international canoe sprint regatta in Auronzo on the weekend taking home a total of 29 medals.
Remarkably 20 of those were gold in an encouraging sign leading into the World Championships.
As expected the Australian senior paddlers dominated proceedings with Jo Brigden-Jones and Alyce Burnett finishing one-two in the women’s K1 200 final.
Brigden-Jones also combined with fellow NSWIS paddler Naomi Flood to win the K2 500 final. U23 pairing Alyssa Bull and Rebecca Mann finished second.
Flood completed the 500 metre double by claiming victory in the K1 final, with Western Australian U23 paddler Shannon Reynolds collecting the bronze.
Flood capped off a successful lead into Worlds winning gold in the K1 1000 final ahead of Bernadette Wallace.
The newly formed K4 500 crew of Burnett, Wallace, Cat McArthur and Jaime Roberts benefited from another race together. They look on track to achieving their goal of reaching the A final at senior Worlds after dominating the final on Sunday.
London Olympic pairing Steve Bird and Jesse Phillips also set about their Worlds preparation with a comfortable victory in the K2 200 final.
While the senior athletes were expected to dominate, it was the performances from the Australian U23 and junior athletes that the coaching staff would have found particularly pleasing.
With just nine days until the ICF Junior and U23 World Championships get underway in Hungary, the team looks set to attack the competition all guns blazing.
17 year old West Lakes’ kayaker Josie Bulmer was a standout. The South Australian won a total of five gold medals.
Bulmer was particularly impressive in the K1 500 and K1 1000 events and firmly stamped herself as one to watch at worlds.
Caloundra paddler Caitlin Gilliman highlighted her prowess over 200 metres winning the junior women’s K1 200 final, as well as combining with Bulmer to win the K2 title.
On the subject of K2’s, bottom age junior paddler Chloe Sterry, 16, teamed up with Onkaparinga kayaker Francesca Kidd to win gold in the junior women’s K2 500 and K2 1000 events.
Both Kidd and Sterry also featured in the winning quad alongside Bulmer and Rachel Duncan. The four girls took out the junior K4 500 and K4 200 events.
The Australian team had a smaller contingent of male athletes in Auronzo.
U23 pairing Robert McIntyre and Mark Stowe stepped up to the senior competition and demonstrated why they will be ones to watch at U23 Worlds winning silver behind Bird and Phillips in the K2 200 final.
Sam McTigue and Nick Pond was equally impressive claiming gold in the K2 200 and bronze in the K2 500 junior men’s events.
Alex Graham continued Western Australia’s dominance of the 200 metre events with victory in the junior K1 200 final.
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