2022 is going to be a big year for Canoe Slalom, with a combination of a packed international calendar of racing and a particularly strong Irish Team setting the stage for a great year ahead. This busy season got underway at the European Championships, held in Slovakia from the 26th-29th May. For the slalom team this was the first opportunity post team selection for the whole squad to line up and put down some pace markers for the season.
Day 1 of racing focussed on the K1’s. A fast course set for the race turned the dial up for the entire field, with some extremely quick times being put down with some extremely fine margins making qualification a very competitive affair. Madison Corcoran was the first athlete lining up for the Irish Team in these championships, finishing the event in 28th position. At only 19 years of age Madison’s performance is a great portent of things to come. The K1 Men team were hoping to follow up on what was a very strong 2021 season, and showed some excellent pace throughout the event. Noel Hendrick was the top finisher, coming home in 32nd place, narrowly missing the semi-final with 2 gate penalties incurred. Alistair McCreery was the next best in 38th place, with some very consistent racing across the qualification rounds. Samuel Curtis was the final Irish athlete in 42nd, being dropped lower in the results with penalty seconds. Back racing in the afternoon these athletes teamed up to finish 17th in the K1 men team race.
The Friday was the chance of the C1’s to get out and kick off their 2022 campaigns. In the C1 Women Michaela Corcoran exactly replicated her twin sisters performance, finishing in 28th. The always strong C1 Men were next up and proceeded to continue their excellent run of racing. Liam Jegou and Jake Cochrane both qualified through to Sundays semi-finals, with Robert Hendrick showing great pace throughout the race, being hampered by time penalties. The C1 men again lined up together to show us their team racing pedigree, putting down a solid race to end the day with 7th in the team race.
In the C1 Men semi-final the tough course set for the next round of racing proved a significant challenge for the entire field, with Liam Jegou and Jake Cochrane proving no exception. Both did themselves justice on what was a tight day of racing, showing great composure and grit through the pressurised race. Liam finished up in 16th position, with Jake landing in 19th, moved lower with 4 penalty seconds.