Aimee Fisher wins first women's K1 200 title at New Zealand canoe sprint champs
Hawke's Bay's Aimee Fisher won her first New Zealand K1 200m kayaking title at Lake Karapiro on Friday, dominating a field missing world and Olympic champion Lisa Carrington.
The 22-year-old then quickly set her sights on doing the double.
Fisher stormed home in 38.15secs, more than a boat length clear of her Olympic K4 teammate Caitlin Ryan (North Shore), who crossed in 39.27. Another member of the Rio K4, Kayla Imrie, finished a solid third but was disqualified for a boat weight infraction, promoting North Shore's Briar McLeely into third.
"It's been a long time since I've won a national title - I think the last one was in 2013, so it's been a pretty dry spell," Fisher said.
READ MORE: Carrington's absence opens door
"It's good to come and have a good hit-out and my Poppa will be stoked when I bring home a gold medal for him."
Her Poppa is Hastings 84-year-old Ian Fraser, who has assumed the role of medal custodian for his granddaughter. She's hoping for another one on Saturday, when the K1 500m titles are decided.
"For the 500 especially, I just want to be brave. Sometimes it can be hard to go 100 per cent and you know it's going to hurt so the goal for tomorrow is to be aggressive off the line and hopefully the rest of it will take care of itself."
Carrington has won the last eight K1 200m national titles but elected to skip the single-boat racing this weekend, following a lengthy break after her double-medal heroics in Rio.
She quickly made an impact in team boats, however, joining fellow Whakatane paddler Jaimee Lovett to win the K2 200m, then combining with Lovett, Rachel Clarke and Anne Cairns to win the K4 200m. It was also the perfect start to Lovett's three-day farewell, with the K4 Olympian announcing her retirement from the sport at the end of this regatta.
In the men's ranks, Mana's Kurtis Imrie also claimed his first individual open title, taking out the K1 200m by 0.44secs from his New Zealand squad team-mate Taris Harker (Bay of Plenty). Imrie flashed home in 40.97secs into a slight head-wind, with Harker clocking 41.41secs and William Wilkins (Hawke's Bay) third in 42.44.
Young North Shore pair Ashton Reiser and Karl McMurtrie caused an upset in the K2 200m, winning in 34.37secs, with Poverty Bay's Quaid Thompson and Zac Ferkins 0.70secs adrift in second. McMurtrie and Reiser also featured in the North Shore boat which finished second to Arawa's crew of Jake Koekemoer, Dylan Neal-Hill, Ben Duffy and Daniel McDowell in the K4 200.