Paddlers set to sprint at schools carnival

FROM international competitors to complete novices, Bendigo kayakers will be out in force at the Victorian Schools Sprint Championship on Saturday.

Eleven students will represent the city on the waters of the Maribyrnong River near Essendon, contesting singles and doubles events in racing and touring kayaks as well as canoes.

Leading the local contingent are Catholic College Bendigo duo Rebecca Mann and Maddie Batters, who will be rivals in the open-age K1 and then pair up for the K2 and TK2 events.

Mann is a member of Canoeing Australia's under-23 national team and this year won the K2 500m in that age group at the Oceania titles.

She has paddled for her country in Hungary and collected many national accolades, including being named the Australian junior kayaker of the year in 2013.

Batters is also an international athlete, having competed at the world wildwater sprints titles in Slovenia last year. 

They will be joined by Eliza Singleton, from Bendigo Senior Secondary College, who will contest the under-18 TK1 and C1.

Singleton has travelled overseas several times to represent her country.

At the other end of the scale, St Kilian's student Emily Strahan-Ferrie and Lachlan Mann from St Therese's are paddling in their first major competition.

They will race in the under-12 TK1, then join older partners for the under-14 TK2 events.

CCB pair Lucas Teasdale and Ben McLean have both entered the under-18 K1, and will join forces in the K2 and TK2 classes.

The under-14 division will include rising star Sean Jones (CCB) and Baydn Murphy (St Therese's) in the K1, TK1, K2 and TK2 races, while Girton's Imogen Douglass will paddle in the female section in K1, TK1 and TK2.

Madeline Jones from CCB rounds out the local crew, competing in the under-18 TK1 and K2.

Bendigo Canoe Club president Andrew Morrall said he was extremely proud of all the youngsters for the effort and dedication they put into their sport.

"We have got another good bunch of kids coming through and you never know where they might end up," he said. 

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