NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship holders were among the athletes who descended on Adelaide last week for the 2021 Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Championships.
The competition was the first major national event to be held for the sport since COVID-19 and the final major competition before the Tokyo Olympic & Paralympic Games.
NSWIS athletes wrapped up the five-day regatta with an impressive collective medal haul, with Tokyo-bound athletes leading the way.
Jo Brigden-Jones (NSWIS) and Jaime Roberts claimed silver in the Women’s Open K2 500, behind their Australian teammates Alyce Wood and Aly Bull, before taking out the Women’s Open K2 200. The pair also claimed gold in the Women’s Open K4 500.
“It’s crazy to think this is our last race before the Olympics; it’s great to be able to just get on the start line and give it a crack,” Brigden-Jones said.
“It’s good to be able to put things we have been working on in training into practice, and what we are doing is a lot about mental preparation as well.
“Getting yourself into the race mindset and just remembering all the little things you do. How you prepare off the water is just as important as what we do on the water,” she said.
Riley Fitzsimmons and Jordan Wood claimed gold in the Men’s Open K2 1000 and the Men’s Open K2 500.
Fitzsimmons then joined Tokyo and NSWIS teammates Murray Stewart and Lachlan Tame on the final day of racing to take gold in the Men’s Open K4 500.
“It wasn’t perfect, but that’s why we’re here,” said Rio bronze medallist Lachlan Tame, who’ll be lining up in the K4 event in Tokyo.
“We’ve got Murray (Stewart) coming back from injury, so it was a little rusty, but the middle 200 is where we’ve done most of our hard training so far, and you could see that really paid off,” he said.
“I think we’re even going to be able to go to another level when we get to the Olympics and that’s the exciting part.”
Meanwhile, Rio Paralympian and Tokyo hopeful Dylan Littlehales took out the Men’s Para Canoe K1 200m Open Multi-Class.