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Sprint canoeists smash NZ World Cup record

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/05/2017

Lisa Carrington played a decisive role as New Zealand stormed to a record-breaking four gold medal haul at the sprint canoe World Cup in Portugal.

Carrington and Aimee Fisher were part of all three gold medals on the final day of the regatta at Montemor-o-Velho, which lifted New Zealand's final tally to four.

Choosing to focus on team boats in the World Cup season, Carrington's move paid huge dividends as Kiwi crews won the K2 200m and 500m titles, along with the K4 500m.

Those wins came a day after Caitlin Ryan's powered to a K1 500m victory, capitalising on the absence of multiple world and Olympic champion Carrington.

Carrington and Fisher notched their K2 wins within the space of an hour and then joined fellow-Olympians Ryan and Kayla Imrie in the K4 500m to deliver New Zealand's best-ever World Cup haul.

"The sport's just growing so much and it's pretty crazy to think it was back in 2015 that we won our first gold medal in the K4 here," Fisher said.

"To come home with four gold medals is just a dream run."

Carrington and Fisher were 0.689secs clear of Portugal's Joana Vasconcelos and Francisca Laia in the K2 200m final, with Imrie and Briar McLeely fourth behind Ukraine's Anastasiia Todorova and Anastasiya Horlova.

They barely had time to dry off, accept their medals and stand for the national anthem before they were straight back in action, backing up in the K2 500m to win in 1:41.706.

That was nearly 3sec ahead of Portugal's Joana Vasconcelos and Francisca Laia.

New Zealand's second boat of Kim Thompson and Rebecca Cole were seventh in 1:47.730.

Carrington says her combination with Fisher has felt since they first shared a boat and is expecting further success.

"Aimee's got some incredible boat skills so when we got in, we gelled pretty quickly. We're at an incredible level but it's early days.

"I haven't paddled a K2 at this level since London (Olympics, 2012) so it's been amazing to be here on top of the podium."

The K4 victory was much tighter, with the Kiwi quartet holding off the challenge from Ukraine, who finished a spot ahead of them in fourth at last year's Olympics.

Imrie, Fisher, Carrington and Ryan flew home in 1:32.105, with Ukraine just 0.422secs behind and a young Hungarian team third in 1:35.077.

New Zealand's second boat of Thompson, McLeely, Cole and Britney Ford were sixth.

The same eight Kiwi women will compete at next week's second World Cup in Hungary before returning home to prepare for the world championships in August.

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