Thursday, 12 June 2014

53. Canoe Sprint - Women's Kayak Four (K4) 500m

Event: Canoe Sprint - Women's Kayak Four (K4) 500m
Date: 11th June 2014
Location: Chelmsford Canoe Club
Cost: £20 Joining fee; £7.50 per session
Rules: Canoe sprints are head-to-head races held on still water. The K4 is held over a distance of 500m with 4 people in the kayak. Athletes stroke the paddles on alternate sides of the boat to go in a straight line, and follow the stroke of the athlete in the front position.

The Event:

From front: Sam, Sarah, Mo and Jo.

From front: Sam, Ellie, Mo and Jo.

London 2012 Olympic Gold: 1:30.82, Hungary.  
Sarah's Boat: 3:10.12
Ellie's Boat: 3:15.20 

Sarah: We arrived at the club to the sight of the K4 being carried out of the lock-up. The boat just kept coming, and coming, and coming; it's so long! The feeling of anticipation was heightened when the pros got into the boat to practice and promptly rolled over and out the other side for an unexpected dip. A couple of them hadn't been in the K4 before, so whilst they got used to the balance and steering, Ellie and I paddled in the smaller boats to find our sea legs and get re-accustomed with the balance. Eventually it was time to step into the huge K4, and I hadn't been prepared for how wobbly it would feel with four people trying to keep the boat centred. I spent the race concentrating on following Sam's strokes, and keeping my balance so not to capsize everyone. It felt great working together and gliding along the river. And we didn't fall in! Unlike last week, when I went for a dip almost immediately.

Ellie: The weather today was beautiful. Damselflies sunned themselves on the fronts of our kayaks and ducks quacked by. A perfect day to fall in the River Chelmer; which I duly did - it was quite pleasant. 
We began practicing with Chelmsford Canoe Club last week in wider, more stable kayaks and progressed to slimmer, speedier models today. I found it a challenge to stay in a straight line and zigzagged along during practice; I also found myself dangerously close to capsizing. We tend to go in at the deep end (sorry; terrible pun) and I think the K4 event could be the hardest canoe event that we complete. Thankfully, our coaches were able to keep my kayak balanced as I wobbled about.  The K4 event is about synchronising your strokes with your teammates and I was concentrating very hard on keeping time with Sam in front. I was also conscious that a good team would be able to subconsciously synchronise their bodies too as any irregular leaning could turn your boat over. It was a fascinating lesson in team work!

Big thanks Sam, Mo and Jo for helping us out and trusting us not to capsize you!

1 comment:

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