Day two of the British Senior and Olympic Selection trials at Lee Valley White Water Centre provided more exciting racing for the spectators basking in the Easter sunshine and for David Florence the day became all the sweeter, as he became the first athlete to secure his place on the British senior team with a second race win in the men’s canoe single (C1). There were also wins for Fiona Pennie (women’s K1), Joe Clarke (men’s K1) and a second win for pre-selected Mallory Franklin (women’s C1).
Today the format changed to a semi final run with only the top six boats progressing to the final in each of the four boat classes, increasing the pressure to perform when it counts.
David Florence (Lloyds Register) continued where he left off yesterday. He won both the semi final and final of the men’s single canoe (C1), with two flawless performances dropping his time to 89.42 seconds, his fastest run of the weekend to secure a convincing race two win and with it his place on the British senior team for a record nineteenth year in a row. He now joins the pre-selected Ryan Westley leaving at least four other athletes to fight it out for the one remaining place tomorrow.
Although still struggling to find his best form, Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone) manged to scrap his way into second place and keep his British team hopes alive, following a fourth place yesterday. However Burgess will be pushed all the way, with Will Smith (Winchester & District), Will Coney (Llandysul Paddlers) and Tom Abbott (Mold) all capable of making life difficult for Adam and staking their own claim to the remaining men’s C1 senior team place.
I am very pleased, the standard is so high and all these guys are difficult to beat. I am really pleased I put in good runs and it was enough, especially to win every run I have done so far this weekend. The first two days are crucial days and now it is over for me and I can relax and know I have got that first spot on the team, my nineteenth year.– David Florence
Adam Burgess added: “I am relieved that I got myself back in the mix today and got my selection back on track. I still haven’t performed near the level I have been at all year in training so I am surprised I have had two such bad days and I just need to get the job done tomorrow and then I can move on and focus on Olympic selection.”
In contrast there was a change of fortunes in the women’s kayak single (K1). Kimberly Woods (Rugby) who had look unstoppable yesterday finished off the pace in the final. She picked up a couple of touches and rolled the boat coming into gate 21 and had to go back for it, losing vital seconds to finish in sixth.
Finishing third yesterday, Fiona Pennie (CR Cats) gave her selection chances a timely boost with a powerful, clean 95.75 second run in the final to win race two. Megan Hamer-Evans (Seren DAur) paddled extremely well to take second and Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) was third.
After a difficult few weeks for the Scot, Fiona Pennie said: “After yesterday’s third place I really needed to get something in the bank today to try and keep myself in the picture. Certainly in the semi final run I knew there was time in that and it was good to be able to go last off in the final and put something down that was quicker and clean.”
In the women’s canoe single (C1) final there was more exciting racing, with pre-selected Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) putting down her fastest run of the weekend (98.44 seconds) to take her second win and secure maximum points in the Olympic selection stakes. Kimberley Woods, added a further second place of the weekend to her tally and with it secured her place on the British senior team.
The battle for the third spot will continue into tomorrow, with the Scottish duo of Eilidh Gibson and Sophie Ogilvie finishing third and fourth respectively today keeping themselves both in the mix.
It was really nice to get such a good run down as I have been struggling this weekend so far. Yesterday’s run was pretty solid too, but this was next level up and it was good to give me confidence. Olympic selection is likely to go all the way to the World Championships, but is nice to get maximum points in the bank to start with.– Mallory Franklin
There was more close racing in the men’s kayak single (K1), with the top four paddlers from yesterday all in the final. Today it was Olympic champion Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone) who came out on top, winning race two and evening things up with Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats) who took the win yesterday.
Bradley was at the top of the leader board with an 87.47 second run and could have thought he had done enough to take the win, but an incredible performance from Clarke to post 83.48 seconds blew the opposition away.
There were also impressive performances from Ciaran Lee-Edwards (Llandysul) and Huw Swetnam (EyeTee).
Delighted to have found his touch, Joe Clarke said: “I said yesterday it was there but it didn’t quite come out, but it paid off today. I knew there was time to make up on my first run and a few areas where I could pick up time and naturally you can just find time and I brought my ‘A’ game like I hoped."
Today is probably the most pressure I have felt since I sat on the start line in the Olympic final, but then there was no expectation to do well and now there is. I want to go the next Games as reigning Olympic champion.– Joe Clarke
RESULTS SUMMARY - TOP 3
1st David Florence (Lloyds Register)
2nd Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone)
3rd Tom Abbott (Mold)
1st Fiona Pennie (CR Cats)
2nd Megan Hamer-Evans (Seren DAur)
3rd Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District)*
1st Jo Clarke (Staffotrd & Stone)
2nd Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats)
3rd Ciaran Lee-Edward (Llandysul)
1st Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District)*
2nd Kimberley Woods (Rugby)
3rd Eilidh Gibson (Strathallan)
* Denotes pre-selected for the British senior team in this event
Full results can be found here:
You can follow all the action from the weekend via the British Canoeing live blog which can be found here: britishcanoeing.org.uk/live with highlights on Twitter and Facebook @BritishCanoeing.