Students gathered from around the country to take part in the USSA Canoeing Championships at the Hansa Fish Canoe Marathon over the weekend, which also doubled as the National K1 Championship. The USSA championships are held on the Great Fish River annually in October, where student paddlers don their university colours for the iconic 84km canoe marathon from the Grassridge Dam to Cradock.
This is the first time Varsity College has taken both the men’s and ladies titles at the USSA Canoeing Champs. “I am really proud of the team for backing up their training with solid performances all round in the big water of the Fish River. I am sure this will motivate the team to come back and defend their title in 2017,” said Varsity College ambassador and team captain Barry Lewin.
Varsity College has been progressing through the student canoeing ranks in recent years and showed its dominance this year by claiming the elusive double, winning the men’s and ladies divisions for the USSA Canoeing Championships.
The Varsity College men’s team, led by Tom Lovemore (Diploma in Business Management and Entrepreneurship 2nd year) from the Durban North campus, who finished an amazing 30th overall, took charge of the leader board from Day 1. This was backed up by a great second day performance by his Durban North team mate Irvin Dixon (Diploma in Sports Development and Management 3rd year), finishing 46th overall. The Varsity College team was rounded up with 49th place finish by Varsity College Cape Town student and surfski star Dom Notten (Bachelor of Commerce 3rd year) and 51rd place Stuart Bristow (Bachelor of Commerce Law 2nd year) who is also a SA Flat Water sprinter.
With 4 very consistent results, Varsity College edged out as strong challenge from UCT into 2nd and defending champions Stellenbosch University coming home 3rd, despite their captain Andrew Houston, having finished in 4th place overall.
The Varsity College ladies team of Dee Kotze (Diploma in Sports Development and Management 2nd year) and Kelly Biljoen (Bachelor of Commerce 2nd year), had great races with very little issues on the challenging river, shooting the big rapids and weirs on their way to finishing 19th and 21st in the ladies race. It was Kotze’s flawless race that allowed her to be the first female student to Cradock and in turn claimed Varsity College their second win of the weekend.
A very proud Carole Adam, Varsity College’s National Sports Manager commented on the team’s performance as they reached the top step of the podium: “It is great to see the student’s hard work come to fruition because they have been putting in long hours both on the river and in the lecture room. The sports life vision at Varsity College is to encourage the students to strike a healthy work life balance and it is clearly evident in this result.”
This win for the Varsity College Sports Club follows on from fantastic results at the recent USSA winter champs that took place in July this year; where VC won gold in both men and ladies divisions at surfing champs in Vic Bay, in addition to, the mens hockey team finishing in the top 4 of the USSA Hockey Champs knocking out UJ who are the Varsity Sports champions.
Photo credit to Anthony Grote.