In a first for Bendigo, three Catholic College Bendigo students have tamed the rapids to win the senior boys’ downriver teams event at the national wildwater schools championships.
Maddie Batters – paddling in the boys’ division – Lucas Teasdale and Ben McLean produced outstanding runs on the Goulburn River at Eildon.
At the start of the day, Batters was the fastest female paddler down the course for the second year running.
The national under-18 classic and rapid sprint champion clocked 11:24 as she won the 17-year-old girls’ K1.
McLean finished second in the boys’ 16 years race in 11:15, and his Murray Marathon partner Teasdale came in fourth with a time of 11:54.
The trio decided to aim for Batters’ time of 11:24 for the teams event with each kayaker to paddle separately, but needing to cross the finish line within 10 seconds of each other.
The CCB students’ teamwork shone through, with Batters and McLean paddling strongly and Teasdale improving his individual time by almost 30 seconds as they clocked 11:26.
“It was a fantastic result, the parents were just sitting there going ‘what in the hell’s just happened?’,” the trio’s mentor Tony Misson said.
“Generally the teams are slower than the individuals because you can only paddle as fast as your slowest paddler – it was really impressive.
“We thought the team were going pretty well and all of a sudden they caught a team right on the major rapid right before the finish line.
“I thought ‘this is going to be carnage’ – it was like a demolition derby going down the rapid.”
Despite some bumps and bruises, the Catholic College team managed to stay upright and recorded the quickest time of 30 teams.
“They beat a few teams that had Australian team members in it, so that was pretty good,” Misson said.
More than 140 competitors from 44 schools competed at the event.
Batters travels to Sydney today for an Australian team camp ahead of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival which runs from January 16 to 19.
Batters and fellow Bendigo paddler Rebecca Mann will race the under-19s 200m and 500m kayak sprint.