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The Rock-itt : February 2012
At the Paddle NSW Sprint Championships on January 14 and 15, Sydney Northern Beaches Kayak Club again demonstrated why it is such a dominant nursery for elite kayaking in Australia. They won a swag of medals in the junior races, showing a beautiful rhythmic technique in their paddling, the result of an intensive training program. The distinctive blue racing uniforms with the gold trim seemed to be everywhere. Among them were aspiring Olympians Jacqueline Green and Liam Yeates, who both went to Poland last September as members of an Australian junior Olympic Hopes squad. They have been kayaking for only a little over two years. Jacqueline, 17, who goes to Pittwater High School, is a former gymnast who turned to kayaking after she broke her foot. "I love the competitive nature of the sport," she said. "You get out what you put in. I love the friends I have made, there is a lot of team stuff. " Liam, 16, goes to St Lukes Grammar School at Dee Why. He enjoys other sports, including rugby, but turned to kayaking "because it seemed like a good sport, there are lots of top competitors in Australia". He said Northern Beaches has an amazing team spirit with everyone working well together at top level of competitiveness which pushes all to bring out the best in them. "We get along well which makes it easier to race hard, and it's a fair sport," he said. The club promotes junior development and elite junior training as a NSW Institute of Sport partner, training at the NSWIS site on the western side of Narrabeen Lakes. Coach Christine Duff says they concentrate on talent identification and developing young paddlers with the skills to go on to the elite level. Hand in hand with this is an emphasis on making them "good citizens". "We are looking for kids of 12, 13 and 14 to come in at the bottom. They need to be fit and to have good upper body strength." She can be contacted on 0438-024-164.