School League Feedback – 21 June 2014

21 June 2014

The GCU school league race that took place during the Berg Training Race – The Gerhard Nel Memorial Vaal Race hosted by Watuni Canoe Club on Saturday 21 June 2014 was well attended and as sometimes happens, the numbers of paddlers exceeded those of the main race competitors!

Well done to the young paddlers who are not intimidated by marathon distances nor cold temperatures!

It was a lovely mild winter day despite a chilly start with frost and many youngsters huddled around the fires or under blankets in cars until it was time to get on the water by which time it was quite pleasant!

Children enjoyed the sightings of grazing deer and an inquisitive monkey around the food area, as well as being on a river as opposed to a dam – a new adventure with some different scenery!

It was impressive to see how well the young paddlers coped with a BUNCHED start / being shoved and pushed by other boats while trying to get off at the start signal / blocked and unable to proceed – with NO attitude NO bad tempers NO punching or whacking each other with paddles and NO bad behavior – and

despite the ruckus causing some near swims, these young athletes coped under the pressure and stress and got on with the job – many older paddlers could learn from their sportsmanlike demeanour and we can be very proud of the young stars we are producing.

Jonathan Jooste (Under 14 Parys HoerSkool / Likkewaan Club ) and Jonty Griesel (U16 Parys Hoerskool/Likkewaan Club) both opted to paddle the long distance 26km main race and received points on the log for their efforts.  This highlights the different levels and ability that the School League has to take into consideration when organizing races and identifying distances as it is a feeder system for the main races and has many NEW paddlers needing time to get up to that level – and in fact there were quite a number of brand new first time paddlers at the first marathon race of the year!

The two boys finished their race in 2 hours and 42 minutes and 2:43 respectively as the only Under 14 and Under 16 in the race, in overall positions 13 and 14 with 26 boats finishing.

In the Under 16 school league race where nearly 40 boats finished their age appropriate distance races,  it was Matthew Truscott and March Strauss who took the first and second place podium positions (St Davids/Dabs) finishing their somewhat unexpectedly short race of 6.5km in 45 and 46 minutes.  There was a misunderstanding regarding the route and directions at the pre race briefing so their expected 9 or 10km race turned out to be a hard fast sprint event instead of a slog! However there were no complaints and smiles all round so hopefully the good results will be motivational!

Caroline van der Linde led the racers finishing her 6.5km race in 32.59 minutes (Parys Hoerskool ) while the boys were led by Wian Bornman, Tristan Trican and Bradley Morris (33.04, 37.08, 45.18) (Lik/FLCC/DABS) (HF Verwoerd, Seekers High and ST Davids) respectively!

The under 12 girls winners were predictably Megan Oelofse and Abigail Bezuidenhout  (H F Verwoerd/Lik) in 39.18 and 39.21 with the third place podium winner being Nicole Henson from St Teresa /Dabs in 48.15.  The Under 12 race was 5.2km.

In the boys Under 12 race Jaydon Hunt (Randpark Ridge/FLCC) won in a time of 40.24, with Connor Erwee (St Davids/Dabs) in 2nd place, 6 seconds later and Inus du Preez (Laerskool Garsfontein Centurion) in 42.17 took the bronze medal.

The Under 10 paddlers completed a course of 3km and considering that much of the race was in fact upstream, it was not such an easy short distance with the winner being a brand new first time racer in the league – Anja Bornman, HF Verwoerd / LIK – in 29.12  – I wish I  knew what they feed their kids in Parys!

Silver medallist was Kara du Preez from Centurion’s Laerskool Garsfontein in 31.21 and the 3rd place podium winner was Kamilah Hank from Curro Aurora in Roodepoort / FLCC !

Under 10 Boys winner, Nicholas Erwee (St Davids/Dabs) finished in 23.47, with Chentin Minie (HF Verwoerd /LIK) in 23:58 in second place and third place winner was Dominic Di Nicola (St Davids / Dabs) finishing in 24.37.

The only Under 8 girl to do the race was Ameerah Hank (Curro Aurora/FLCC) who also won the gold medal at SA Champs finishing in a not too shabby 28.05, a better time that some of the boys who are frequently reputed to be physically stronger than girls and having done the same distance as the Under 10’s, her time was in fact  faster than the Under 10 girls so we may have a young future champion developing early!

The Under 8 boys however were not to be beaten by a mere girl and Theo Dreyer (St Davids/Dabs) finished in 23.55 to take the gold medal, with Lyton Oelofse (HF Verwoerd /Lik) in 24.21 walking off with silver and the bronze medal winner was Ryan Macpherson (St Davids/Dabs) finishing in 28.03!

So ended another epic adventure in the canoeing school league of Gauteng – thanks to Watuni for support / assistance and for being a great hosting club!

Jennie Dallas