Promising kayaker Aimee Fisher has had a dream start to her first World Cup of the year, by qualifying for the K1 200m final in Duisburg late tonight.
The Hawkes Bay 21-year-old will line up alongside defending world and Olympic champion Lisa Carrington in the final.
Fisher, a member of New Zealand's K4 crew heading for the Olympics, took the chance to race the individual sprint with the quartet not opening their campaign until early on Sunday.
She finished second in her heat in 41.821s and improved on that in the semifinal, recording a personal best 40.797s to advance to the final.
Carrington's 40.200s was the fastest time of the day and she will start favourite for the title.
''It was awesome to be able to line up with Lisa," Fisher said. ''It was just like being at home and I'm really looking forward to the final.
''It was a massive experience and I'm also really looking forward to taking all that stuff I've learned into the K4 tomorrow."
Fisher, who finished second to Carrington at the nationals in February, admitted she was ''shaking like a leaf" on the start line for her heat.
''It was absolutely terrifying. But I sat down with Rene (coach Rene Olsen) and had a little debrief and laid out some things I needed to work on for the semi. I just tried to stay relaxed and not freak out too much."
Carrington won her first World Cup title on the Duisburg course in 2011.
Since then, she's won 13 of the 14 major K1 200m races she participated in, including Olympic gold in London in 2012. Her only defeat in that time was also in Duisburg in 2012, when she finished second behind Hungarian Natasa Douchev-Janics.
Douchev-Janics has also made tonight's final, alongside Azerbaijan's Inna Osipenko-Rodomska, European Champion Sarah Guyot (France), Ukraine's Anastasiia (crrt) Todorova and Poland's Marta Walczykiewicz.
Wellington paddler Marty McDowell will race the C final of the K1 1000m, the event he recently qualified for Rio in, after finishing sixth in his semifinal.
McDowell qualified for the semifinals with a strong second-placing in his heat, leading for much of the race before Bulgaria's Miroslav Kirchev reeled him in, but couldn't stay with the leaders in the semifinal.
Denmark's René Holten Poulsen won in 3:35.848, with McDowell clocking 3:42.033.
Meanwhile, Christchurch's Scott Martlew missed the opportunity to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, after finishing fourth in the B final of the KL3 200m.
Fisher and Carrington will race their K1 200m final at 11.05pm (NZT), with Carrington backing up with her K1 500m heat later in the night. The K4 start their regatta at 2.50am Sunday (NZT).