Royal Leamington Spa Canoe Club’s strong links with British Canoeing’s talent pathway is bearing fruit with two of the club’s paddlers reaching their respective finals at the Junior European Championships in Auronzo, Italy.
Philip Miles paddled individually in the K1 over 1000m where he earned qualification for the Junior World Championships and he and James and Smithson teamed up with paddlers from Norwich and Richmond to race in the K4 over 500m, missing out on qualification to the Worlds by 0.1 second.
Royal Leamington’s head racing coach Tom Love, himself a former international paddler, said the success of the duo was down to sheer hard work and hopes it will inspire others from the club to follow in their footsteps.
“There are no shortcuts to achieving international representation and there are no shortcuts to being the best you can be,” said Love.
“The sport is demanding and our athletes need to develop the power to be able to sprint over short distances of 200m and the endurance to race marathons of over 12 miles.
“Our sport is no different to others in that what you put in you get out.
“Our older juniors will typically train six days a week, often twice a day, mixing gym and running with work on the water, improving technique.
“We have a great set of junior boys and girls of all ages who enjoy the sport and the teamwork that is developed through paddling in groups and joining together in K2 and K4 boats.
“Other clubs across the country look to Leamington for paddlers to pair up with and this is something that we encourage as the experience supports overall athlete development both in technique and confidence.
“Success breeds success and our younger athletes are no doubt inspired by the seeing their friends paddling with athletes from other clubs and certainly by seeing them pull on an international racing vest.”
The club, which is situated on the banks of the River Leam opposite Victoria Park, is not all about racing and boasts a large recreational membership, catering for a range of paddling activities.
Love continues: “Long lazy paddles down to Warwick Castle watching nature pass by are an excellent way to pass some time.
“Alternatively, you can develop your skills and paddle in white-water conditions across the country by joining trips organised by the club.”
The club recently held the Doggy Paddle, a canoe and kayak event from Leamington to Stratford in aid of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and will be taking part in the Warwick Sprints in St Nicholas Park in October which feature Olympic champions paddling with and competing against club paddlers from across the country.
For more information about the opportunities on offer at RLSCC, log on to rlscc.com