Canoe Club braves the cold for wild water win

Canoe Club President Ben Smith writes on Canoe's Club mighty achievements and second place success in the Wild Water Racing championships

Ben Smith
4th December 2017
Fergus McClean was just one of many members to win a medal. Image: Newcastle University Canoe Club

Chilling temperatures and an icy wind ushered in the Canoe Club’s annual Wild Water Racing championships. Packing bobble hats and gritted teeth the 23-strong team were determined to lay down strong times on both the Classic (2.5km) and Sprint (200m) events in various canoe and kayak disciplines.

Following months of dedicated training, Nick Bennett, a post grad medic, smashed the 2.5km course in under eight minutes, beating 170 other competitors and earning himself a gold medal in the competitive men’s kayak (K1) category before going on to earn a bronze in the K1 Sprint race.

Following Nick’s exciting start, the team took on the two-person canoe (C2) category. These are closed cockpit, tie-yourself-in, carbon Kevlar racing canoes, and not for the meek hearted. On the classic course, Ben Smith and Dan Leicester took bronze, with Nick and Seb Tyerman snapping at their heals 2.4 seconds behind in fourth place. Second years Emma Scorror and Esther Michel came in tenth place, followed by old hat Carrie Bamber and second year Cat Mills.

Accidental duathlon athletes Emily McCarthy and Kayley Barnes, who decided that part of the course was best swam, successfully navigated a high spec WWR boat down the course. This is something rarely attempted by a female duo and often regretted by many of both genders.

Following months of dedicated training, Nick Bennett, a post grad medic, smashed the 2.5km course in under eight minutes

Team Newcastle had similar standings in the C2 Sprint category. Bennett and Tyerman once again took fourth place, but brains once again triumphed over brawn as PhD students Smith and Leicester placed just above in third, being pipped to second themselves by three tenths of a second!

In the team events Newcastle also performed well as experienced boater Fergus McClean and Race Captain Seb Tyerman joined with Smith, Leicester and Bennett to take another bronze followed by the latter three taking silver in the Open Team discipline.

The team placed second in the competition, something that would not have been possible without the help of Jake Coulthard, who was out due to injury, coach Chris Barratt and enthusiastic supporter (and racer) Jay Endean.

Arguably however, the greatest achievements of Team Newcastle are those not mentioned above. Instead they are from those who pushed themselves and challenged their comfort zones (sometimes overstepping them and taking swims…). With our high number of paddlers, women in particular, entering the more challenging disciplines, and almost all Newcastle paddlers tackling the more challenging racing boats, NUCC has proven itself to be a successful club of strong and determined athletes!

In all, it was a fantastic weekend and the determination, enthusiasm of the competitors spoke as much for Team Newcastle as our many glorious medals (and BUCS points).

Thanks must also go to organizers Tyerman and Barnes for all of their hard work and efforts in the run up the event.

Medals and smiles, the Canoe Club can be proud of their fantastic performances. Image: Newcastle University Canoe Club

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