DCU kayakers have to settle for second at intervarsities

DCU Kayaking Club were pipped to the post recently at the annual intervarsities by University of Limerick, settling for a second place finish after a tough weekend on the water.

Over 300 students from 14 colleges competed in the Irish Kayaking Intervarsities, which was co-hosted by DCU, Dublin Institute of Technology and NUI Maynooth. The event took place between Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare.

The annual event gives kayakers from colleges all over the island the opportunity to get together and compete for prestigious titles in a number of divisions such as whitewater, freestyle, canoe polo and long distance.

The event kicked off with the canoe polo held in Kilcock,  Co. Kildare. Canoe polo is unlike any other canoe sport. The game consists of two halves of 10 minutes each, where teams of five battle it out with a water polo ball. The aim is to score into a goal, which is suspended above the water at each end of the ‘playing pitch’. In the final, DCU drew with NUIM, sending the game into overtime. In the end, DCU prevailed with captain Robbie O’Shea scoring the winning goal.

Saturday commenced with the whitewater event on the Avonmore River in Co. Wicklow. Each college was represented by four paddlers, who had to make their way down the river as quickly as possible. The river surprised many, throwing fast rapids and sharp turns their way, leaving a carnage of boats, paddles and students being swept down the river. DCU again showed their paddling talents by claiming first prize.

In the afternoon, students pitted their endurance against each other on the long distance race course at the Salmon Leap Canoe Club in Leixlip, Co. Kildare. This was one of the most popular events, with over 200 competitors taking part.

There are many different categories in this event: K1, high performance, canoe doubles and general purpose kayaks. There is a long and short course; the long course consisted of two laps of eight kilometres while the short course was four kilometres. DCU came eighth overall in this event, with Shane Little coming sixth in the men’s high performance and Laura Griffin coming second in the woman’s high performance.

The weekend drew to a close with the Freestyle competition at the Canoeing Ireland Liffey Centre in the Strawberry Beds, Co. Dublin. Canoeing, which is typically a relaxing outdoor pursuit, becomes more strenuous and unusual in this category. The entertaining event lets competitors do tricks, such as front and back flips, in their boats. DCU managed a third place finish in the final event, securing an overall second place finish behind the eventual winners, UL.

Anita McSorley

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