A Kilkenny canoeist has stepped up his training as he prepares to take on the world.
Michael Brennan, a member of the Thomastown Paddlers, has jetted off to Italy to continue his preparations for the World Wild Water Championships on the River Adda, in Valtellina, an area close to the city of Milan.
Wild Water racing, one of the fastest watersports, sees participants race canoes or kayaks over a river course. Rivers are normally in huge flood, mixed with numerous drops and rapids, meaning entrants must have expert kayak skills as well as fitness levels. Results are on a time-trial basis, where milliseconds can separate the top 20 competitors.
With racing beginning on June 10, Brennan will have two weeks to train and learn the course prior to competition. In a sport where the slightest error can be costly, Brennan is hoping to do better than last year, when he recorded Ireland’s best result at the Championships with a 12th place finish. Having already taken a rigorous and dedicated training regime, Brennan is hoping to crack the top 10 in this event.
Closer to home the Paddlers competed at a domestic marathon race in Celbridge at the weekend. A selection event for the Irish marathon team, a number of the country’s top racers were out to show their worth as they competed in the Division One class over a 20km course.
Thomastown’s Donnacha Brennan continued his fine form when he finished in fourth place. Kieran Varley also grabbed a fourth place finish, competing in the Division Two class over the 20km.
With the majority of canoeists racing over a shorter 10km course a number of Thomastown’s double crews stole the show. Martin Walsh and Alex Broderick made it two wins in a row as they won the K2 classification, while Finbar O’Donovan and Dave Comerford powered their open Canadian home to win their field.
David McCormack continued his progress when he finished in fourth place in the K1 Division Three category. Isabelle Varley was second in the under-13 race, while Peter Roche had a great race in his first outing.
With a break for exams, the next marathon will be held in Leitrim on June 28.
Thomastown Paddlers will run a Summer Camp for under-18s from July 1 to 4. Early booking is essential. Full details from www.thomastownpaddlers.com