The Irish Kayaking Intervarsities 2017 take place in Belfast from the 3rd – 5th February 2017. This is UCC Canoe Club’s main competition and the one we will be gearing up towards all year.
The competition consists of 5 disciplines. Whitewater, Freestyle, Polo, Long Distance and Slalom. We will have set teams competing in 4 out of the 5 events, with every member who heads up doing the long distance event to accumulate as much points as possible for the college.
Anyone can try out for all of our teams with a ‘year of grace’ rule applying to this event also. This means that past students who are in their first year after graduating are also allowed try out and compete in this Competition.
Our Whitewater team consists of 4 paddlers. 3 boys and one girl usually, however it is possible to have 3 girls and one boy as the most of each gender allowed on one team is 3. It is based on the 4 fastest paddlers in the club at our fabled whitewater trials which will take place on the Upper Bandon river in mid January.
Freestyle also consists of 4 paddlers and follows the same format as Whitewater teams, with a 3:1 split the most that is allowed. Trials for this event take place in mid January either at the sluice feature on the river lee or on flatwater, depending on the conditions that will be used for the intervarsities competition.
Our Polo team consists of 8 players. There are 5 players playing at each time and there must be one female on the pitch at all times. We begin training for polo in early December at our pool sessions and organise regular river sessions to do so also. We will then pick our team 2 weeks before Intervarsities and they will have set extra training sessions before the competition.
The slalom race is an individual time trial where paddlers must successfully navigate hanging gates facing either upstream or downstream. It follows the same team format as the freestyle and whitewater competitions. The average time of the four team members will be taken and the team with the fastest average time wins. There is a time penalty incurred for any paddler who touches or misses a gate so finesse is just as important as speed when tackling the slalom course.