Australian kayakers Naomi Flood and Jo Brigden-Jones will continue to soak up lessons from New Zealand world champion Lisa Carrington on their road to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The pair are competing at the Blue Lakes regatta in Rotorua this weekend at the end of a three-week camp in Queenstown, and their time with Carrington has already paid dividends.
Although Carrington won Saturday’s K1 500m in one minute 55.97 seconds, Flood was just 0.78secs behind in second place, while Brigden-Jones finished third in 1.57.93.
“That’s probably the closest I’ve ever come to her in a final,” Flood said.
“Lisa’s the best paddler in the world and she’s only three hours away, so it’s madness not to come over and train with her.
“She’ll help us more than we’ll help her, but it does give her a little bit of a gauge too.
“She’s such a good trainer and she’s so professional in everything she does – it’s certainly raising our level as individual paddlers.”
Flood and Brigden-Jones, part of the Australian K4 at the 2012 London Olympics, finished seventh in the K2 women’s 500m at the world championships in August.
They combined again in Rotorua on Saturday to beat Carrington and Jaimee Lovett over the same distance, stopping the watches at 1:44.67 to the Kiwi pair’s second-placed 1:45.48.
Flood and Brigden are keen to return for the New Zealand national championships in February, emulating fellow Australians Lachlan Tame and Ken Wallace, who have been to the last two New Zealand championships.
“Whatever the boys do, it seems to work for them. We’re so close to each other – I don’t know why we don’t join forces more often and this is definitely the start of something for us leading into the next two years,” Flood said.