Two Whanganui clubs will be looking to make a splash next week when they head up to Lake Karapiro for the Te Wānanga o Aotearoa National Waka Ama Sprint Championships.
Nearly 3500 paddlers are scheduled to race from 66 clubs throughout Aotearoa along with 14 corporate teams for the 32nd annual nationals, and some 10,000 spectators are expected to be lakeside for the regatta.
Te Ringa Miti Tai Heke Whanganui Waka Ama Club, based in Putiki, and the Whanganui River Outrigger Canoe Club, from Aramoho, are heading up to Cambridge early next week.
The crews have their last session on the water tomorrow.
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Te Ringa Miti Tai Heke Whanganui Waka Ama Club president Hone Tamehana said five of their crews were heading to Lake Karapiro.
"We'll be heading up early next week. We have crews from open grade to golden masters. We have been training hard for the last four months in preparation for this. We have a good cluster of crews going up."
Tamehana said they were all set to go to Hawaii last August for the IVF World Club Sprint Championships, but that was cancelled because of Covid-19.
"We qualified for the worlds from our performance in the 2019 nationals. It was a bit of a shame that we didn't get to go.
After securing the bronze medal in the W12 in the 60+ category at the 2020 nationals, Tamehana expects to see his crew climb a few more steps of the podium after a strong lead-in to the regatta.
"I believe we are going faster. We should be able to better our time and improve upon that bronze medal. We're prepared."