Tom Collings | Australian Canoeing - The 2015/16 domestic canoe sprint series gets underway in Adelaide tomorrow with Grand Prix 1 set to stage the opening race of the season.
More than 160 athletes have registered to compete at the West Lakes Regatta Centre from 4 to 6 December.
All of the big names will be in action including recent World Championship silver medalists Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame, plus local favourite Catherine McArthur who is coming off a bronze medal performance at the under-23 World Championships.
Racing will commence on Friday from 8:45am local time with the women’s K2 500 heats to get the event underway.
Heat one will see arguably Australia’s two best female pairings race head-to-head with 2015 World Cup finalists Jo Brigden-Jones and Naomi Flood facing under-23 World Championship bronze medalists Alyce Burnett and Alyssa Bull in the centre lanes.
Bayswater pair Alana Nicholls and Jaime Roberts will be the favourites to take out heat two ahead of McArthur and seasoned pro Bernadette Wallace.
The final will follow shortly afterwards from 10:30am local time.
The senior women will also feature in the K1 500 on the opening day, while the junior women led by Bayswater paddler Monique Carbone and Ella Beere of Avoca will contest the K1 500, K2 500 and K4 500 events.
In the men’s events, Wallace and Tame will be the men to beat in the K2 1000 after they won their second consecutive World Championship silver medal in Milan earlier this year.
The pair are expected to be challenged by under-23 world champions Riley Fitzsimmons and Jordan Wood.
Wallace and Tame will also team up in the K4 1000 alongside Daniel Bowker and Jy Duffy.
The quad will be looking to present a challenge to David Smith, Jacob Clear, Fitzsimmons and Wood who finished fourth at the World Championships in August.
The senior men will also contest the K1 200 and K2 500 events on Friday.
Canning River kayaker Steve Bird will be the man to beat in the K1 200 but he will face fierce competition from fellow Western Australian’s Jesse Phillips and Brodie Holmes, Tame, and emerging pair Callum Dunn and Ben McLean.
The canoeists will also feature on the opening day with Marius Florian the man to beat in the C1 1000 and in the C2 1000 alongside Jason Nejman. Interestingly, local club West Lakes will feature four athletes in each of these events to dominate the field.
In the junior men’s events watch out for Victorian Oliver James who recently was awarded Junior Canoeist of the Year at the Australian Canoeing awards.
The junior men will feature in the K1 1000, K2 1000 and K4 1000 on the first day of racing.
Some events will be contested multiple times across the three days of racing as the coaching team assess the best boat combinations leading into the important selection period in February and March.
Post GP1 a nationally driven process will be implemented to provide optimal support for each of these crews to fast track further development in an attempt to maximise optimal performance.
Visit the Australian Canoeing Regattas website for more information.