Philip Miles led the British charge on day one of the Junior and U23 European Canoe Sprint Championships in Belgrade.
Miles (Royal Leamington Spa) impressed in both of his events in the men’s K1 U23, finishing fourth in his first race of the day, the 1000m, the event he won the silver medal in at the 2019 European Junior championships.
He then returned to Sava Lake just a few hours later to finish fifth in the 500m and ensure he will be in tomorrow morning's semi-final.
“It was a good opportunity to be out there,” said Miles. “This was my first U23 competition racing in K1 so it was a good challenge.
“I was pleased with the markers I put down and hopefully there is still a little bit in the tank for me to step it up again tomorrow. Going into the competition you can never be too sure of what to expect or where your rivals are at. But I feel my race plan is nice and drilled after today.
“We started with a bit of rain out there today, but the water is pretty hot and the conditions are good.”
Another of the strongest British performances from day one in the Serbian capital came from Emma Russell (Chelmsford) who also advanced to the semi-finals.
Russell, 21, went extremely close to breaking the two minute barrier, finishing third in her U23 K1 500m heat.
Her time of 2:00.72 was faster than the winning time of the third heat and Russell will hope to build on that momentum as she heads towards the latter stages tomorrow.
In the U23 K1 1000m event, Grace Anderson (Norwich) crossed the line sixth in her heat.
In a competitive field, Anderson produced a solid run of 4:32.46 from lane two to ensure she will be back for the semi-final tomorrow.
Over in the Junior K1 500 events, Honor Lewis (Wey) and Dylan O’Connor (Richmond) also progressed after finishing fourth and sixth respectively.
Falcon club duo Dominic Stanley and Gabriel Popham-Coveley (Falcon) finished strongly in the second half of their race to come home sixth in their men’s Junior K2 1000m heat.
And it was a similar story in the U23 equivalent where Finn Cadell (Nottingham) and Alex McIntyre (Chelmsford) finished in fifth place, meaning the pair will go again on Friday in the semi-final.
Arthur Leech (Richmond) will navigate a semi-final to progress in the U23 C1 men’s 1000m, after he finished seventh in heat 2.
In the afternoon with conditions continuing to improve in Belgrade, attention switched to the K2 and K4 classes with six British boats in action.
In the men’s Junior K2 500m, Benji Cabrera (Fowey) and Dominic Stanley (Falcon) were fifth in a competitive third heat won by Hungary, but will have another chance to progress in the semi-final.
In the U23 equivalent Ieuan James (Scottish Performance Squad) & Dan Atkins (Reading) find themselves in the same situation after coming home in sixth place in their heat.
Britain also had entrants in the women’s K2 500m races. In the junior contest Amy Green (Worcester) and Kristina Armstrong (Linlithgow) finished fifth in their heat, a result matched by Abigail Burgess (Wey) and Zoe Clark (Royal) in the U23 event.
Burgess, along with Clark, was also involved in the women’s K4 crew along with Florence Duffield and Enya Dale that raced just an hour later, but despite the quick turnaround was pleased with her performances.
“We just about had long enough to recover,” Burgess said. “We had about 40 minutes to sit down and get some food in us.
“But in both heats we had a strong first half of the race. The key is to learn how to keep that up for the whole race for the semis tomorrow and we’ll try and improve that second half.
“Preparation has been good and we’ve acclimatised to the heat well out here, so there is no reason we can’t improve tomorrow.”
Both pairs will now have to navigate the semi-final to continue their European Championship adventure going.
Meanwhile in the U23 K4 classes, both the men’s team (Xav Hines/Alex McIntyre/ Ben Gallacher/Finn Cadell) and women’s British teams will contest the semi-final after finishing sixth and fifth respectively.
Coach Brendon Stead said he was pleased with the efforts of both the junior and U23 squads on the first of competition day in Belgrade.
“It was a satisfactory day from my point of view,” he said. “For quite a few of them it is their first major championships and first European Championships.
“A lot of them delivered well, in the K1s Emma (Russell), Honor (Lewis) and Phil (Miles) all produced some really strong racing out there.
“They are definitely in and amongst it for the semi-finals, as are our crew boats. It was an exciting day for lots of them and they will learn a lot from it.
“We are looking for people to press on tomorrow in the semi’s and I believe they can.”
You can catch all the action on the Canoe Europe Youtube channel.
See all the results here: https://timetable.europecanoeevents.com/index.php?gmt=2...
Photographs are available via the ECA Canoe Europe Facebook Page.
Men’s U23 K1 1000m Heats Philip Miles (Royal Leamington Spa) – 4th and progresses to semi-final
Men’s U23 C1 1000m Heats Arthur Leech (Richmond) - 7th and progresses to semi-final
Women’s U23 K1 1000m Heats Grace Anderson (Norwich) – 6th and progresses to semi-final
Men’s Junior K2 1000m Heats Dominic Stanley & Gabriel Popham-Coveley (Falcon) - 6th and progresses to semi-final
Men’s U23 K2 1000m Heats Finn Cadell (Nottingham) & Alex McIntryre (Chelmsford) – 5th and progresses to semi-final
Women’s Junior K1 500m Heats Honor Lewis (Wey) – 4th and progresses to semi-final
Men’s Junior K1 500m Heats Dylan O’Connor (Richmond) – 6th and progresses to semi-final
Women’s U23 K1 500m Heats Emma Russell (Chelmsford) – 3rd and progresses to semi-final
Men’s U23 K1 500m Heats Philip Miles (Royal Leamington Spa) – 5th and progresses to semi-final
Men’s Junior K2 500m Heats Benji Cabrera (Fowey) & Dominic Stanley (Falcon) – 5th and progresses to semi-final
Men’s U23 K2 500m Heats Ieuan James (Scottish Performance Squad) & Dan Atkins (Reading) – 6th and progresses to semi-final
Women’s Junior K2 500m Heats Amy Green (Worcester) & Kristina Armstrong (Linlithgow) – 5th and progresses to the semi-final
Women’s U23 K2 500m Heats Abi Burgess (Wey) & Zoe Clark (Royal) – 5th and progresses to the semi-final
Men’s U23 K4 500m Heats Xav Hines (Southampton), Alex McIntyre (Chelmsford), Ben Gallacher (Scottish Performance Squad), Finn Cadell (Nottingham) – 6th and progresses to the semi-final
Women’s U23 K4 500m Heats Abi Burgess (Wey), Zoe Clark (Royal), Flo Duffield (Norwich), Enya Dale (Falcon) – 5th and progresses to the semi-final
08:00 K1 Junior Men 500m semi-final Dylan O’Connor
08:10 K1 Junior Women 500m semi-final Honor Lewis
08:25 K1 U23 Men 500m semi-final Philip Miles
08:35 K1 U23 Women 500m semi-final Emma Russell
09:05 K2 Junior Men 500m Semi-final Benji Cabrera & Dominic Stanley
09:10 K2 Junior Women 500m Semi-final Amy Green & Kristina Armstrong
09:20 K2 U23 Men 500m Semi-final Ieuan James & Daniel Atkins
09:30 K2 U23 Women 500m Semi-final Abigail Burgess & Zoe Clark
09:57 C1 U23 Men 1000m Semi-final Arthur Leech
10:25 K1 U23 Men 1000m Semi-final - Phil Miles
10:39:00 K1 U23 Women 1000m Semi-final Grace Anderson
11:00:00 K2 Junior Men 1000m Semi-final Dominic Stanley & Gabriel Popham-Coveley
11:14 K2 U23 Men 1000m Semi-final Alex McIntyre & Finn Cadell
13:50 U23 K4 500m Women Semi-final Abi Burgess/Zoe Clark/Flo Duffield/Enya Dale
14:00 U23 Men K4 500m Semi-final Xav Hinves / Alex McIntyre/ Ben Gallacher/Finn Cadell
15:00 C1 U23 Men 200m Tom Lambert
15:10 K1 Jun Women 200m Kristina Armstrong
15:25 K1 U23 Women 200m Florence Duffield
15:50 K1 Jun Men 200m Benjamin Cabrera
16:00 K1 U23 Men 200m Ben Gallacher