The Saturday morning saw the two canoe clubs travel to Garstang for the first event of their competition, Canoe Slalom. The feeling going into the game, given the past history of the two clubs in competition at canoe slalom over the last 12 months, was that both contests were going to be very close.
When the results were revealed, the feelings turned out to be correct, with both ties indicating a difference of around half a second. In K1 Men, York won the tie with a time of three minutes, thirty four seconds and 6 tenths. Individually, York’s Mark Stoner posted the fastest and cleanest individual time of 52 seconds and 9 tenths, with no penalties. Lancaster’s Alex Lucking and Rhys Hamiltion-Evans were second and third respectively.
K1 Women was a victory for Lancaster, with a time of three minutes thirty-eight seconds and 2 tenths. UK Division 1 paddler, Danielle Beever posted the fastest time for Lancaster in a time of one minute 2 seconds and six tenths, including 4 seconds of penalties. York’s Georgia Barnett placed in second, and Lancaster’s Amy Fowler was third.
The only major disaster was when the aforementioned Fowler taking a swim on her first run. As the paddler made the turn for the first drop, the rear of her boat dipped into the water for a sharper turn, but this dip was caught by the underflow of the main river.
There was a feeling of confusion of the course arrangement, as the pairs of gates were not clearly indicated with ordering. This led to a few paddlers falling foul of the layout, choosing the attempt the gate pairs in the wrong order. This seemed to cause frustration for some of the competitors, and may have produced better times for the competition.
During the event members of York and Lancaster were cheering for each other, encouraging those new to the discipline, whilst still remaining competitive. The uniqueness of friendship between the two teams was something not found elsewhere in other events, making the event have a unique sense of camaraderie.
Overall, the event was well contested, and spirits were high in anticipation of the canoe polo later in the evening.