” You have a ukelele with you Graham ?!!”……..and so the camping fraternity’s Saturday evening cracked on deeper into the night around a crackling BBQ fire with great company and no little food and liquid refreshment. Meanwhile photos from the Chinese fraternity showed members in equally good spirits in town………….
On the water, coaches were racing next to Rovers who were racing next to juniors who were racing next to seniors…….Off the water, the Chairman was mixing with parents and supporters….there must have been a dog there  somewhere !!….
Good spirits all around which resulted in the Club taking 2nd place, amassing 1292 points (nearly 500 more than ever before!) just shy of Norwich’s previous record of 1347….On this occasion however Norwich took the bar a little higher …
We had 5 National Champions but the first story of these Nationals was to be found in the Rovers section of the club. They committed quite early to racing at Norwich and consequently had prepared thoroughly. In several instances doubling up their races on the day in different age groups. Consequently 4 of the top 8 contributors to the clubs tally of points were Rovers ; Carol Ramplin, Linda Bailey, Patrick Guinnard and National Champion in the O39 ladies, Emma Watts.
On the start line for the Senior K1 race one can only imagine what Tim Pendle thought when Neil Thom had the gumption to sidle along side :-) . Unsurprisingly, Tim was quickly off into the distance but unperturbed, Neil ticked off all his laps to finish,  tired but proud, and garner his 9 points.for the club. Top Rover !! Graham with his ukelele, Alvaro, Pippa, Liz, Emma G, Amanda, Caroline and Chris all contributed and hopefully will inspire each other and more to develop their paddling further.
Our next National Champion was to be found among the coaches where Dimmo put in an excellent performance to take the O59 title, following this up with 3rd in the O49 class, 3rd in the K2 O54 class and 4th in the O44 K2 class. A successful weekend’s racing which resulted in him being our top points contributor with 73pts. Other coaches putting into practice what they are preaching were ……
Fay: 3rd Senior Ladies K1, 4th Senior ladies K2 with Tali, and 5th Mixed K2 with Alex.  Batty: 3rd K2 O54 with Dimmo. Dave Martyn: 4th O44 K2 with Dimmo.
Roy: 4th O69 K1 (dispatching higher ranked paddlers with disdain :-))    Richard and Steve: 8th O44 K2 determinedly improving on last year’s effort and Gavin: 5th O34 K2 with Ben….loving the 12 mile course :-)
In the Seniors Kenlea Murray was the star, taking home 2 National Championship medals with consummate wins in the O44 K1 class and the O34 K2 class with Brett Irvine from Richmond .Much to admire and plenty to learn from in these two performances.
Others contributing to the team dynamic were Sage (5th k1 O34), Tali (5th U23LK1), Sophie (4th U23 LK1), Samantha (5th SNR L K2),Holly, Colin, Graham (5th O59 K1), Andras, Chris ,Joe (5th O34 K2) and Ben.
What about the juniors? Well 21 of the 55 members racing were juniors and they contributed nearly a third of the points. The highlight was Jordan and Alex winning the U18 Junior Men K2 National title. In so doing they confirmed their selection for the GB Team at the World Championships in China later this year where we we wish them well.  In the same race Ethan and Perry were taking home championship medals for 3rd place. Perry was also 5th in K1 U18, Isabella was 5th in K1 U16 and Nerys and Kiki were 4th in the U.14 JLK2.
Contributing no less than their seniors to the team dynamic were Honor, Natasha, Arthur, Patrick, Sienna, Abi, Ellie, Sam B, Felix, Zoe, Sam D, Sam S, Amelie and David. All of whom can be proud of their performances in difficult conditions.
Hopefully everybody learnt a little from everybody else and came away from these Championships with a tired body but a smile on their face. As at the Macgregor paddle earlier this year this was a real TEAM WEY effort.
Many thanks go to Norwich Canoe Club for hosting a very well organised weekend in difficult circumstances. Many thanks also go to the supporters.

Enjoy your paddling

Paul Thompson.

p.s. The gentlemen  just held their own this year with 57 % of the points contributed to the Ladies 43% !! :-) ..meanwhile back at BBQ…….

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