Gold haul for kayakers at State champs

K2 Victorian champions Nikita Carroll and Zoe Schweda with Kristi Hardman and Ruby Stevens.

Local kayakers from the Yarrawonga Mulwala Canoe Club took home five gold medals at the Victorian State Championships held on the Barwon River at Geelong over the weekend.

Coach Tim Roadley said the event was a huge success for local female paddlers.

“Every girl that went down returned home with a gold medal and is now a state champion,” Tim said.

‘It follows on the club’s success from last week’s school championships, and they used that to take on the challenge to do the two-day Victorian Championships over distances that were far greater than they had paddled before.

“Saturday was the singles where the girls had to paddle up and down the Barwon River in Geelong over distances ranging from 12km to 16km.

“Ruby Stevens led the way by paddling the 12.1km under 14 women’s event taking out first place in a time of 1hour and 29 minutes.”

Tim said the under 16 girls contested the highly competitive International Canoe Federation approved course over 15.8km with two portages.

Nikita Carroll finished third in an impressive time of 1hour and 42 minutes, closely followed by Zoe Schweda and Kristy Hardman in fourth and fifth.

Natalia-Drew Cole continued her amazing comeback from surgery last year to take out the Women’s Adaptive/Para event over 15.8km in a super time of just over two hours earning her selection into the Victoria team for the National Canoe Marathon Championships on the Gold Coast in May.

Not to be left out Janet Schweda, mother of Zoe jumped paddled in a touring kayak to take out third place in the master’s women’s general class event.

Tim said the second day was the highlight of the regatta for the girls with Nikita Carroll and Zoe Schweda teaming up to win the gold medal in the International Canoe Federation women’s K2 junior event over 15.8km in a terrific time of 1 hour and 36 minutes and are now the 2022 State Champions.

Ruby Stevens stepped up an age group to join Kristi Hardman in the biggest field of the day in the Under 16 General Classification race to hold out girls from MLC and some of Victoria’s largest clubs from the Yarra River to win the 12km race in a time of 1 hour and 16 minutes.

Mums Jenny Hardman and Janet Schweda also competed in the masters’ women’s doubles.

“To step up and compete at the state championships for one race is a great effort but to back up and do it again the next day shows how much determination these girls have,” Tim said.

“They deserve their gold medals and titles of state champions, which is a true reflection of how hard they have worked over the entire summer.”

On Sunday, April 10 the YMACC is holding its own Murray River Classic at the Yarrawonga Holiday Park where once again the girls will be competing against the best paddlers from Victoria, Southern NSW and the ACT but this time it will be on their own patch of the Murray River.