Canoeing: Team put through their paces

At a time of the year when the rest of us are enjoying the best summer in recent memory, the NZ Sprint Canoe squad converged on Tauranga to put in the hard yards ahead of gruelling competition seasons.

The squad was training at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic's Aquatic and Fitness Centre last week, one of the few High Performance Sports accredited training facilities in the Bay. The centre has hosted the likes of the Bay of Plenty Steamers, the Magic, members of the NZ Beach Volleyball team and numerous individual high performance athletes.

Squad head coach Gordon Walker said the canoe team were going through their training paces and he has his eye firmly fixed on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

"It's about giving the team the best chance of success," said Walker.

"We can take a maximum of 12 athletes to the Olympics, so it's a matter of qualifying as many seats as possible for Rio.

"The main focus in the future will be the ICF world canoe sprint championships in Italy in 2015 which will double as the Olympic qualifying regatta."

New Zealand's golden girl, Olympic gold medallist Lisa Carrington, from Whakatane, was also training with the squad at the Polytechnic and said her training schedule kept her pretty busy.

"We paddle in the morning, have a gym session in the afternoon followed by another paddling session in the late afternoon.

"We do this three days a week and cross train in other areas such as pilates and surf lifesaving in our downtime."

Walker has this year to get his final squad together and within 12 months will have his final team training full time towards the 2016 Olympics.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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