Race Report – School League at Florida Lake Canoe Club – 4 Oct 2014


The school league race hosted by Florida Lake Canoe Club on Saturday 4 October 2014, did not attract the gale force winds and unpleasant conditions that the change of season often reflects, and the previous nights strong winds and scattered thundershowers had moved on so it was a relatively pleasant mild Spring day.

Most sincere thanks to the FLCC paddlers, parents and development team as well as a couple of coaches from other clubs, for their support as marshalls on the water, organising foods and drinks and a huge thanks to Jeep Constantia Kloof for sponsorship of the hotdogs which were given free to all the young participants, together with Oros!

The marathon distance races were slightly longer than had been on previous marathon races as it is assumed that the juniors have been training since the warmer weather has arrived, and the only way to get stronger is to increase distance and push the envelope at regular intervals.

The league will be moving into the shorter sprint distances now to prepare for the Sprint Season with the SA Schools Interprovincial Sprint competition at the end of April.

The Under 8’s streaked comfortably through a very long 5km course with very little difficulty – half a time trial and boy their times are whipping some adults!!

With Theo Dreyer, Lyton Oelefse and Chris Taylor leading the pack, in times of 35.25, 36.18, and 38.46, with Ameerah Henk as the only Under 8 girl chugging in after a tough long hard 45.22 paddle – jeesh – almost an hour on the water – poor little sausage!!

In the Under 10 boys who did the same distance, the race winners were Chentin Mienie, Matthew van der Merwe and Nicholas Erwee in impressive 33.58, 34.18 and 35.14 times.

The Under 10 girls winners were Anja Bornman, Kamillah Hank and Emma Renouprez who did her very first real race despite being thoroughly exhausted by the longer distance, hardly surprisingly, and their times were registered as 39.24, 40.02 and 50.02 – ouch many adults whine about having to paddle for that long!!

In the Under 12’s, the 8.5 km boys winners were Jaydon Hunt, Connor Erwee and Joseph Sizani, whose times were 55.02, 1.00, 1.04, while the girls were Megan Oelofse, Abigail Bezuidenhout, and Ayanda Chwayi finished in 53.35, 54.47 and 1.5 to claim their podium positions……

The Top Three boys in the 11.6km Under 14 race was Sibusiso Chwayi, Wian Bornman and Zanenhlanhla Mbala, finishing in 1;03, 1:04 and 1:05, and those who have not been training took some serious strain and dropped off to the back of the field, but they will surely be tougher and stronger after the marathon workout!

The girls leaders were Caroline van der Linde and Jaemi Wellisch finished their race in 1:07 and 1:28 so a really hard workout for young Jaemi who even developed a blister!!

They will all be glad the races move into the short distances and sprints now!

Alex Masina, Jonty Griessel and Xolisa Gxobolo were the top Under 16 crew achieving times of 1:03, 1:04, and 1:05 in their 11.5 km race, while Pooja Satyaprakesh was the only Under 16 girl who raced despite a tragedy at Parktown Girls School which threw all the girls into a difficult mental state and our hearts all went out to the school, teachers, pupils and students who have to bravely continue without a loved one.  Pooja finished the 11.5 km in a respectable 1:22 !

The Under 16 and Under 18 paddlers also covered the 11.5km distance and a number took strain on the longer distance, just over a time trial, although next time it wont seem so long.

The Under 18 boys were represented by Archie Moncho, Peter Chissano and Sbonakaliso Mpunzi and their times were 1:03:36, 1:03:45 and 1:10……along the lines of the Under 14’s so they going to have to shape up to hold their positions as the top paddlers in the league in the royal age group!

A novice race was held as beginners struggle to get into the races at this time of the year when the race distances are longer during the tail end of the marathon season. Their race was less than 1km more along the lines of 700m, and most of them coped very easily with this first race, but although they may have managed the normal race distances for their age group, the young paddlers are often very intimidated by a new or strange lake / dam, and so many other competitors who they are not familiar with and prefer to ease into racing gently.

The Under 8 girls wandered off on a course of their own – adding additional buoys to their race and chatting merrily as they poodled all over the lake, and were nevertheless awarded 1st and 2nd prize medals – Jessie Francis and Bonolo Mohapi enjoyed their first introduction to races!

Luca DiNicola and Thoriso Mohapi were very pleased with their first ever race and medals as Under 8 boys, while in the Under 10 race, Lagavuya, was the only novice racer. The Under 10 girls were led by Anita Skabalala, Londeka Matbabela, and Ketso Mohapi who had a swim on her first race, but was not daunted and assures us she will be back to race again.

In the Under 14 race, young Alexis from Parktown Girls, was the only participant and while it may have been too easy and too short for her, the alternative course looked very offputting and scary for a first timer!

Thanks to Florida and parents for their tremendous support and assistance, as well as to the usual indispensible team – Megan Hung for entries, and database, as well as the St Davids Mommies and support teachers who handle the results – all in the interests of ensuring that our juniors enjoy competing and participating in what is often thought of as an extreme or elite sport!

Jennie Dallas


082 857 857 1