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Fisher stars in Carrington's absence

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/02/2017

Aimee Fisher has cemented her place as Lisa Carrington's heir apparent after a commanding performance at the national canoe racing championships on Lake Karapiro.

The 22-year-old Hawke's Bay paddler capitalised on Carrington's absence from individual boats at the three-day regatta, winning the K1 200 and 500m double.

Fisher's reward is likely to be a spot racing alongside the world and Olympic champion in this year's World Cup series, although she was more delighted with the mental breakthrough she made with her twin wins.

"Coming into this weekend, my only goal was to be brave in the 500m and that's the first time I've ever managed to do it in a race," Fisher said, who headed off Olympic K4 teammate Caitlin Ryan by 0.80sec in the final.

"Every other time, I'd chicken out but I've done a couple of 500s at training where I'd been getting the hang of it, being aggressive off the line."

Fisher admitted she was terrified of the 500m, knowing vividly the incredible toll it takes, but she was bolstered by support from her Hawke's Bay club.

"You just paddle into this darkness and everything hurts - you can nearly taste blood when you're paddling and your muscles have been scorched by lactic acid.

"Coming through the 200m, I heard all these kids and when you've got kids running down the side of the bank cheering your name, you've got to rise. That gave me a lot of courage and I charged home."

Ryan also finished second to Fisher in Friday's K1 200m and the two paddlers are likely to pair up as a K2 combination in Europe this season.

Carrington didn't go home empty handed, collecting four golds in various team boats, alongside retiring Eastern Bay teammate Jaimee Lovett, another member of the Rio K4 boat.

The men's racing was dominated by Wellington 21-year-old Kurtis Imrie, the younger brother of Olympic K4 paddler Kayla.

He took home four gold medals, including rare wins in the K1 200m and 500m finals, as well as a silver in the K1 1000m where he was beaten by Rio Olympian and Mana teammate Marty McDowell.

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