Kayaking: Fisher aims to join world's best

By Shane Hurndell

Hawke's Bay kayaker Aimee Fisher has been labelled "the next Lisa Carrington" by those who know her sport.

Should the 18-year-old bachelor of business studies student at EIT fail to match Carrington's Olympic Games gold medal and world title feats it won't be through a lack of international competition.

Fisher recently returned from the Youth Olympics in Sydney and after a week's rest resumed training with the August world junior championships in Canada her next international assignment. These will be her second junior worlds.

"My last ones in Germany two years ago were all about getting experience at this level. This time the aim will be to make some A finals," Fisher said.

After winning two silvers at the Youth Olympics the 2012 Hawke's Bay Secondary Schools Female Sportsperson of the Year has every right to be aiming for A finals in Canada.

With Canterbury's Lucy Johnson, Fisher won silver in the K2 500m final and the K2 200m final. She was also hoping to medal in her favourite event, the K1 200m, but finished fourth.

"I wasn't in the best form in Sydney. It's so much easier to rise to the occasion in a team boat," Fisher explained.

The teenager said she struggled with her K1 200m races all day, was flustered by the occasion and could not put together a complete race. However, she finished second in her heat to the European champion Dora Lucz of Hungary.

Despite another poor start she managed to win her semifinal.

"I did have the satisfaction of accelerating past Hungary's No2 paddler and I enjoyed the shocked look she gave me after the race," Fisher said.

By the 150m mark in her final Fisher had worked her way to second behind Lucz and felt good.

But with 50m remaining disaster struck.

"I saw weed in my lane just under the surface and my heart sank. My boat picked up the weed and was suddenly difficult to paddle. I managed to shrug off my despair and treat my heavy boat as a challenge but I slipped back to fourth, 0.2 of a second off China in third. It was good to win silver in the K2 but I plan and train for the K1 200," Fisher said.

Now she can look back and see the positives. "It took me a while to realise that I was the fastest boat in the middle stages of the race. Paul MacDonald once said to me that speed is everything and you either have it or you don't - it can't be taught.

"It is very encouraging to have at least as much speed as Dora who finished the race in a world-class time of 43.25sec," Fisher said.

In addition to tackling the K1 200 in Canada, she will compete in the Kiwi K4 500 crew with Kim Thompson of Poverty Bay, a daughter of Fisher's Youth Olympics team manager, double gold medal Olympian Alan Thompson, Taranaki's Rebecca Cole and Canterbury's Danielle Currie.

On February 16 and 17, she will compete at the Rotorua-hosted nationals and next month she will represent the Ocean Beach Kiwi club at the Mount Maunganui-hosted national surf lifesaving championships. "I'll have a huge workload ... ski and double ski events as well as canoe events across two age groups," she said.

The Ben Bennett-coached Fisher will relish the workload. She knows it will be another key step towards making those A finals in Canada.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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