23 Aug 2023

Dame Lisa Carrington spreading her knowledge

5:15 am on 23 August 2023
Dame Lisa Carrington

Dame Lisa Carrington Photo: PHOTOSPORT

With five Olympic and 12 World Championship titles under her belt, Dame Lisa Carrington knows what it takes to succeed.

A year out from what is likely to be her last Olympics, Dame Lisa is spreading her knowledge to help the next generation of paddlers to make their mark on the world.

Carrington is entering her ninth world championship with a group of young female athletes hoping to clinch spots at next year's Olympics.

The 34 year old's experience is head and shoulders above the rest of the squad but she's playing down the significance of her involvement.

New Zealand is aiming to have a full team at the Paris 2024 Olympics with the main objective at the world championships in Germany to qualify the women's and men's K4 boats.

Carrington leads the women's K4 crew of Alicia Hoskin, Olivia Brett and Tara Vaughan.

They finished third at a World Cup regatta in May and appear well placed to achieve their goal.

"The K4 is a very complex boat with four people, it's tricky enough to paddle on your own, but we've had good people helping us and so we're going to be at our best and we've got a good chance", Carrington told RNZ.

While support is great there's nothing better than having someone like Carrington in the squad.

"No one in the team has had as much experience or been around as long as I have so I guess there's just a natural standing I have.

"There's a lot I can share with the other paddlers with what I do and what I've done to work something out so I'm happy to give them some advice on a shortcut if they need it."

Carrington won her first world championship title in 2011 and she admits it's still a buzz.

"Performing at my best is always really scary.

"Absolutely nerves are a part of the recipe, but it's also good experience for the Olympics."

Carrington and Hoskin are the two members remaining from the K4 boat that finished fourth at the Tokyo Olympics.

New Zealand paddler Alicia Hoskin.

Alicia Hoskin Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Carrington sits at the front of the kayak with Hoskin behind her, those positions are significant.

"Every seat in the K4 has a particular role and I've done a lot of seat one paddling. I help set the rhythm, stroke rate and strategy but ultimately we all have to do it together."

Hoskin is attending her second world championship, her first was in 2019 as a 19 year old.

In fact she's come a long way since she diagnosed with a heart condition as a teenager.

"It's never lost on me the fact that I get to race with someone like Lisa.

"With her calibre but also the person that she is she really tries to bring out the best in the rest of us.

"She fills me with confidence with how well she can do her task but also the belief she has in us and how she creates a good environment for the girls.

"It's really cool to be able to sit beside and behind someone who can lead both on and off the water.

"With the experience she has she knows what it takes to get to the top and that's something all of us girls want."

In fact Hoskin says the four of them have created a "cool culture, which gives them a lot of confidence in their ability."

"Sport is only temporary, we don't get to do this all our lives so we might as well enjoy these experiences that we get."

If successful New Zealand could have the maximum six women and six men in Paris competing in five boats each, one K4, two K2 boats and two K1 boats.

For the K4 boat class, these world championships are the only qualifying regatta for Paris, the K1 and K2 will have a final chance to qualify at the Oceania Champs in Penrith in February.

The best way to achieve qualification in Germany is to either finish in the top eight overall, while another is to place ahead of the Australian crew.