"Most para-canoe athletes within Australia have very young training ages in paddling and so it is vital to maximise the early season for base work..."
Australia’s finest para-canoe athletes were acknowledged for an outstanding past 12 months at the Australian Canoeing Awards in Sydney.
Curtis McGrath, Amanda Reynolds and Susan Seipel were among those to rack up awards.
Despite the on-water success of the team in 2015, the athletes are back in the waters training for the all-important summer series where athletes will get the opportunity to secure Paralympic selection, as the sport will make its Paralympic debut at Rio 2016.
Camps have been organised around key events in December, January and February to ensure athletes are on track for better performances in 2016.
For the initial stages of the summer, the focus of the programme will be on aerobic development.
“Most para-canoe athletes within Australia have very young training ages in paddling and so it is vital to maximise the early season for base work and also to allow for technical developments,” said Andrea King, who was awarded ‘Coach of the Year’ and has overseen the para-canoe programme from its initial stages.
“Those preparing for selection and international racing are also utilising this time to enhance strength and conditioning.”
From January to March, there will be a focus on endurance and speed, with the final preparation including power in order for the athletes to fulfil selection requirements to the para-canoe squad for 2016.
Domestically, the para-canoe athletes will all compete in the state sprint Championships relevant to their place of residence, as well as the Queensland state titles as a part of a national camp. They will also compete at the Oceania Championships (GP2) and Nationals, as these events are likely to be part of the selection policy for 2016.
“I would be encouraging para-canoe athletes to compete in any club or state based sprints series for an increase in race practice as there are not many events currently for para-canoe athletes to obtain necessary race experience,” King said.
McGrath capped off a stellar year by winning ‘Para-canoe Athlete of the Year’ after he won silver in the KL2 200 final at the World Championships, and successfully defended his VL2 200 world title.
Reynolds won the ‘People’s choice’ award after she improved on her bronze medal performance in the KL3 200 final at Worlds in 2014 to win gold in Milan, Italy, this year.
Reynolds also received an Award of Merit alongside compatriot paddler Seipel.