CULBURRA Beach paddler Kirsty Higgison has returned from a successful three days of competition at the Oceania Championships at the Sydney International Regatta Centre for Sprint Kayaking.
Top international and Olympic champion competitors such as Ken Wallace, the current Olympic 500m gold medallist, raced at the prestigious event.
Kirsty had a great championships, competing against the top under 18 sprint kayakers in the Asia Pacific region as well as paddlers from Japan and the United States.
She put together some great races and times which included several personal bests that culminated in her progressing through to multiple finals in the women’s 500m and 1000m events for K1 and K2.
Competing in her first year of under 18s, Kirsty, who is only 16 years, put her best paddle forward and pushed the more fancied and experienced paddlers to the line.
One highlight was the under 18 Women’s 1000m final where Kirsty put together a finishing burst that took her from over two boat lengths behind the leaders with just on 200m to go in the race, to power over the top of the pack in a blanket finish with the leaders.
Just .4 of a second separated third through to seventh placing where Kirsty claimed sixth position and a three second PB for the distance.
In other individual events Kirsty made the finals of the under 18 K1 500 and finished eighth with a 2.5 second PB.
In the 200m event, Kirsty was placed fifth in the semi to miss the finals by .5 of a second.
In the K2 events Kirsty partnered Illawarra paddler Emily Bonin, where they paddled well to progress to the finals 200m and 500m events, finishing fourth overall and then backed up to finish fifth in the 1000m events.
Kirsty hopes to repeat her performances in the upcoming 2010 National Champion-ships to be held from March 10-14 at the Sydney International Regatta Centre.
Another strong showing will have Kirsty on the short list for selection into the Australian Junior Team that will compete in Europe this winter.
Selection to the national team this year would fast-track Kristy’s goal of being selected for the 2011 team.
Kristy’s ultimate goal is to represent Australia at the World Junior Championships to be held in Trakai, Lithuania in August 2011.
The 2010 national team will be announced after the Australian Championships.