Sprint Racing is the ‘track event’ of the canoeing scene and it has been in the Olympic Games since 1936. The National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, is the main centre of kayak racing in Britain.
However we are fortunate to have a local Sprint Series, The Summer Series, of four regattas currently hosted by Bishops Stortford, Chelmsford, Herts Young Mariners (Cheshunt), & Leaside (Hackney). These events are suitable for all from very novice beginners to National Squad members. This is the first step for Sprint Racing.
The next step is to attend a National Regatta, at Nottingham and for this there is a minimum time standard. Having reached the minimum standard canoeists are categorised by Men, Women, Boys (under 18) and Girls (under 18) and within each category a ranking of A, B, C or D, with D being the slowest. Progression through the ranks is by winning races.
There are five competitions at Nottingham during the year (April, May, June, July and September), each one over a weekend. Many people camp, although there is some accommodation available at the centre and local B & B and Hotels. Each Regatta has a different emphasis, for example, Junior National Championships, International Selection events and the MacGregor Paddle Competition which is an opportunity for Clubs to compete for the Inter-Club Annual Trophy.
As mentioned the opportunity for selection to National Squads comes from racing at Nottingham. A very general guideline is race & train regularly, progress from Local Regattas, to National Regattas then through the Divisions from D to C to B to A. When you are top end of Division B make sure you have read through the Selection Policies so that you know which events to peak for and discuss with your coaches to ensure you are well prepared.
This Olympic sport is competed over 200, 500 and 1000 metres, usually in lanes of 6 or 8 canoeists. The competitors race over these distances in differing craft K1, K2, K4, C1, C2, and C4. The “k” & “C” denoting Kayak or Canoe and the number denoting the number of competitors in the boat.