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Kiwi Olympic paddlers team brace for split

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/12/2016
Image of Jaimee Lovett, Kayla Imrie, Aimee Fisher and Caitlin Ryan  competing in the Women's Kayak Four 500m on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games © Paul Gilham / Getty Images Image of Jaimee Lovett, Kayla Imrie, Aimee Fisher and Caitlin Ryan competing in the Women's Kayak Four 500m on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

The break-up of New Zealand's Olympic women's K4 boat is a reality in 2017.

Members of the crew who finished fifth in Rio four months ago returned to competition at the Blue Lakes regatta at Tikitapu, near Rotorua, over the weekend.

Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie all recorded prominent results in small boats while Jamie Lovett could only watch on because of illness.

They are part of an enlarged national training squad of 10 women, allowing greater options for coach Rene Olsen as he plans next year's international campaign and looks to the Tokyo Olympics.

Ryan says Olsen has already tried a variety of combinations with the K4 paddlers, most notably in K2 boats.

"The smaller boats are an area Rene is excited about getting into and the World Cups next year are a good way to test it and see where we are against the rest of the world," Ryan said.

"We were prioritising the K4 for Rio but we've had a good break since then. Having New Zealand athletes racing in a smaller boat just develops the sport even further."

Double Olympic champion Lisa Carrington was the only big name missing from the regatta, which doubles as a national selection event.

In her absence, Ryan won the K1 500m title while Fisher was victorious over 200m.

The K2 500m final was won by Ryan and Fisher.

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