This last weekend took place in Sydney the NSW (New South Wales) Sprint Championship, first test of the australian season 2012, with a bunch of first line paddlers with their eyes in the olympic team for London Games. With a privileged international competition (the British Paul Wycherley and the Italian Sprint team, with Benassi on the lead), two stars were shining above them all: Alana Nicholls and Murray Stewart.
Inthe ladies competition, Alana Nicholls gave no choice to all their national team partners, winning all K1 distances (1000, 500 and 200). Only Naomi Flood in the 500 and Rachel Lovell and Jo Bridgen-Jones in 200 could come close to her, but with no chance of taking the first step of the podium. She has shown being very fit, but let's see if this shape is coming to her maybe a bit far from the season highlight in London this August.
In the Senior men competition, Murray Stewart made his best to claim the K1 1000 with more than 2 seconds over Ken Wallace and 3 on Maximiliam Benassi, keeping Paul Wycherley fourth and out of the podium. The British took revenge in the 500, reaching second position ahead of Ken Wallace, third, but always behind a superb Stewart who stopped the clock 4 seconds before, setting an outstanding time of 1:38.61. Only on Sunday, at the 200 course, Joel Simpson could beat Stewart, who finished second and with Matthew Urquhart in third position.
Now it's time to see if Stewart can hold this performance level until the Australian olympic trials in March, where Wallace will need an extra effort to claim the K1 1000 ticket for London, having then the possibility of another olympic medal like he already had in Beijing. We will see in just two months.
Here you have the link to all the results of a weekend plenty of races in all categories at the Sydney International Regatta Center. The communication has been absolutely perfect for those who, like us, live so far away, with online updates and previous information about the different races, something to learn from at other international events.