Hawke's Bay kayaker Hamish Legarth had some shoulder surgery scheduled for the end of May but it has been postponed.
Legarth, 19, will make his World Cup series debut in Poznan, Poland from May 23-26 and then compete in the second round of the series in Duisburg, Germany from May 31 to June 2.
"It's pretty exciting times," Legarth said as he reflected on his latest national team selections which also includes the August under-23 world championships in Romania.
"I've been battling the shoulder injury for the last few months and haven't been able to compete as often as I would like this summer. At the end of last year the decision was made to have surgery. Although it has been painful and I've been through some big rehab I was able to do the job in the trials so the surgery has been put off," Legarth explained.
"Looking after myself is the challenge now," Legarth said in between training sessions with the New Zealand High Performance men's squad at Canoe Racing New Zealand's Lake Karapiro base yesterday.
The Havelock North High School product has been selected in the New Zealand K4 500m crew with Canterbury's Ben Duffy, Gisborne's Zac Ferkins and Auckland's Ashton Reiser for both World Cup rounds as well as the under-23 world championships.
"Basically the aim is to get plenty of experience at the World Cup events to we can put out a good performance at the under-23 world champs. A medal has to be the goal at the under-23s but it is going to take a lot of hard work," Legarth said.
The crew, who had their first week training together with New Zealand's High Performance men's coach, Frenchman Fred Loyer, can't be accused of shirking the tough grind. They will train six days each week, two to three sessions each day for a total of 20 hours each week.
"In between these commitments Legarth also has to has to keep up with his second-year civil engineering study commitments at Waikato University.
"It's a pretty good lifestyle up here. All of the crew live in Cambridge so we can bike out to training sessions at Lake Karapiro," Legarth said.
He was impressed with how well the crew gelled for a "first time combination" at last weekend's trials.
"We had to do 1m22s over 500m to qualify for the World Cup regattas and we did it twice. I'm in the No 4 seat at the moment but positions are still open to change."
"I'm the youngest in the crew with still plenty of years left in the under-23 ranks. It's a big achievement to be able to go to these elite level events. While the 2024 Olympics in Paris are the ultimate goal there is a chance we could sneak qualification for next year's Tokyo Olympics at the World Cup regattas," Legarth said.
Duffy and Legarth were teammates in a Kiwi K4 crew at Legarth's first junior world championships in Belarus in 2016. He also competed at junior world championship level in Romania in 2017.
Next month the Kiwi crew will travel to Paris for five weeks of training and then compete at the French Open as part of their buildup for the World Cup regattas. Legarth will do a couple of K1 events as well as with his K4 crew.
Those who have followed Legarth since his early days under Hawke's Bay Kayaking Club coach Ben Bennett will have noticed he has bulked up since leaving school.
"Yes I have been training in the gym as well as on the water. I've put on 5kg and I'm now 85kg. Paddlers talk about power to rate ratio where you have to be as strong as possible but as light as possible too but power is more important ... it doesn't matter if you are a little bit heavier as long as you have got power."
"The best paddlers in the world are huge guys," Legarth added.
Legarth is a younger brother of former New Zealand representative Elise Legarth who finished kayaking last year to focus on her studies. He is one of two Hawke's Bay Kayaking Club members in the Kiwi team for the World Cup regattas.
Olympian Aimee Fisher, 24, a former winner of the world under-23 K1 200m and K1 500m titles has predictably been selected. She is thrilled two Bay clubmates have made the cut.
"The last time we had two was in 2014 when Scott Bicknell and I went away. Hamish has been chipping away for a while now and it will be interesting to see how his crew goes at the next level."
Fisher pointed out her K4 crew, which also includes Lisa Carrington, Kayla Imrie and Caitlin Ryan, has been making big improvements during training.
She hopes to do one other event in addition to the K4 in Tokyo.