Writer: Tom Collings | Australian Canoeing - Gold Coast paddler Jordan Wood leads a younger brigade of 1000 metre kayakers that have emerged throughout the Australian ranks in reason seasons.
Their success and development can be attributed to the strong philosophies and training environment that National Men's Head Coach Jimmy Owens and his support team have established on the Gold Coast.
With the added presence of Olympic gold medalists including Kenny Wallace and Jacob Clear setting a high training and competition standard, the younger athletes in the squad have the perfect environment to develop.
Joining the men’s 1000 metre program over the off-season was four-time Olympic medalist Adam van Koeverden.
In his short time in Australia, van Koeverden has had a profound influence on the senior men vying for Olympic selection.
“He adds so much to the team with the environment and helping nurture those younger guys,” National Men’s Head Coach Jimmy Owens said.
Wood commenced his domestic season at the first Grand Prix in Adelaide last weekend by winning two gold and two silver medals and has benefitted from training and racing alongside van Koeverden.
“It has been really good having Adam racing, it just ups the level of all of us and it’s good because you learn a lot of things, especially from someone with so much experience,” Wood said.
“The amount of knowledge and experience he brings to our training environment is great.”
“To be the best you need to train with the best so it’s been really good.”
2015 was somewhat of a breakout year for Wood. He combined with fellow young gun Riley Fitzsimmons to win gold in the K2 1000 at the under-23 World Championships and was a member of the senior K4 1000 boat which finished fourth at the Milan World Championships.
Wood is following in the footsteps of his Mother, Anna Wood who is now the National Women's Head Coach. Anna won two bronze medals at the 1988 and 1996 Olympic Games. His Father, Steven, also won a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics.
Meanwhile, van Koeverden will shortly return to Canada for a block of cross-training before returning to Australia again early next year.
“I am going to go home and get in some cross-country skiing and get back to what I usually do in January which is just moderate my fitness a little bit and stay off the water to give my paddling muscles a little bit of a break," van Koeverden said.
"I am a little bit anxious to stay on the water but this is what has worked for me in the past, but I will be back 1 February at the latest here in Australia to prepare for our trials and hopefully our qualifiers."
The second Grand Prix will be held in Adelaide from 12 to 14 February. The event will double as the Oceania Championships and be the first selection event of the season.