GEELONG will be buzzing with canoeing enthusiasts this weekend when the Australian Canoeing Marathon Championships come to town.
Participants from across Victoria and interstate will make up more than 150 competitors in all classes of canoeing and kayaking.
Geelong competitor Ben Poole, 30, said the championships were a crucial opportunity for selection in the Australian canoeing team.
“It’s one of the few opportunities we do have to make the Australian team and it’s really a do-or-die race to get a place,” he said.
“You can never guarantee anything because tactics and weather conditions play a big part but if you’re running and paddling consistently you’ll go in with an advantage.”
Poole, a seven-time Australian team member, said he was confident of making the national cut again with favourable conditions.
Twelve other Geelong canoeists will also compete for a place in the team.
Poole said the race would be a “great opportunity” to compete against interstate rowers as well.
“My running, gym and boat training is basically all done, so now it’s about focusing on the venue,” he said.
“Having the championships in Geelong is a real recognition of the club and how nice the Barwon River is. We’re so lucky to be able to compete on the river; it’s the best facility in Victorian for the marathon championships.”
The course covers a two kilometre stretch of the Barwon between Balyang Sanctuary and John Landy Athletic field.
The event attracts paddlers in various classes of canoes and kayaks from under-16 classes to veteran age groups.