2005 Sprint Nationals Review by Michelle Hunter
Our nationals for kayaking were certainly a memorable experience. We were in Penrith from Tuesday, 22nd of May to Saturday, the 26th. Sarah and I drove there with my parents, whereas the lucky others got to fly. On the way there I began to feel quite nervous, as it was my first nationals for kayaking and I wasnÕt sure what the competition would be like. When we arrived in Penrith, we went straight to the Flat Water Stadium to check it out. The water looked great, with it all set out so well. It was a great facility as it was also the home of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. We went for a quick paddle to test the water. We stayed at a nice, small cabin called the ÔCastlereagh Penrith Lakes AcademyÕ, or as we liked to call it Ôthe GraveyardÕ as it was at a church and had tombstones. This place was very close to the stadium. Our first day of competition was probably the most nerve racking, as it was our first race and the first time we had raced in fresh water. Once that was out the way, it wasnÕt as scary, although I got the butterflies each time before a race, because in competition, anything could happen. I guess my biggest fear was not finishing the race. Within these few days of racing, South Australia went really well, winning numerous medals.
I was in 1000m K1, K2 and K4, and the 500m K1 and K2. I was also in the 2.5km K1 and K2, as well as the 200m K1 and K2. We also were in finals, so we were in quite a few races. I was in many races, but my favorites would have to be the U16 ladiesÕ 500m and 200m K1 and K2. The hardest was the 2.5km as I wasnÕt really sure how to pace myself and it was hard not having designated lanes. All our races were enjoyable. Each night, our coach Peter would come to our cabins after tea to talk about certain races and to give us tips. Peter really helped us out, as he is such a wonderful, helpful coach. The parents did a great job each day preparing the delicious meals. As well as all our races, we still had a whole lot of fun such as going aqua golfing, and white water rafting.
The highlights for me were getting a few PBs, being in some great races, and meeting Olympians, Nathan Baggaly and Clint Robinson. The trip was such a great learning experience for me, and everyone else. We learnt a lot more about the sport, and its rules, the atmosphere of the competition and how we could improve next time. IÕm really looking forward to next yearÕs nationals, as now I know the standard of the girls in my age group, and I will have hopefully improved even more by then. IÕm really happy and proud to have been in that competition.