Norfolk duo wrap up double title joys at National Schools Flat Water Kayak Championships
- Credit: Submitted
Langley School Kayaking Academy members Tim Dowden and James How have won two national titles.
The duo, who are also members of Norwich Canoe Club, won both the Sprint and the Marathon categories in the National Schools Flat Water Kayak Championships on the River Thames at Wokingham on Sunday.
Forty-eight K2 crews (kayaks for two people) from schools all over the country took part in the championships which consisted of three events, a 500-metre sprint heat and final, a 200-metre sprint elimination race – which had a mass start but five crews were eliminated each round leaving the five fastest to battle it out in the final 200m – and a 20-kilometre marathon race also with a mass start.
Dowden and How won their 500m sprint heat and then their final by just over a second.
The pair's coach, Tim Scott, explained: 'The 200m sprint elimination race was incredibly exciting as the top crews all hit the start hard on each round and then cruised the second part of the course once they were out of the pack.
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'There were 10 200-metre races in all and several crews capsized and were rescued by the safety boats. In the final round with just five crews remaining the Langley K2 were victorious by half a length on the line.
'The afternoon's marathon race, which the organisers suggested was 20 kilometres, had the closest sprint finish of all with James and Tim holding off the winners from last year to come across the line and take the win by a third of a second after an hour and a half of paddling.'
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The Langley School Kayaking Academy is now in its second year and has attracted paddlers from around the country as the school, near Loddon, tries to establish a centre of excellence where kayakers can have the support to train at the highest level – including the swimming pool, the yoga studio and the gym as well as on the water – but also have a schedule that allows them to study and excel with their studies.
Dowden is also supported by the Young Norfolk Sports Academy.
Scott, coach of the Langley academy as well as British Canoeing club-based sprint coach at Norwich Canoe Club, added: 'It was a fantastic atmosphere at the event ,which is a huge credit to the organisers, and it was exciting to see Tim and James get reward for the mountains of hard work they put in in training.'
Norwich Canoe Club is one of the top racing clubs in the country having won the senior and junior Marathon National Championships in 2016 and the partnership between the school and club is proving successful.