Sydney University paddlers Tim Anderson, Jess Fox and Noemie Fox were among the medallists at the 2024 Canoe Slalom Australian Open at Penrith Whitewater Stadium at the weekend.
Anderson won the men’s kayak cross, while sisters Jess and Noemie finished with silver and bronze in the women’s kayak final. The three are all former Sydney Uni Sport Elite Athlete Program members and are Sydney University graduates.
After finishing fifth in Friday’s kayak final, Anderson backed up in the cross kayak on Sunday to claim the gold and push his claims for a Paris Olympic Games berth.
“I’m absolutely stoked. It was a pretty incredible race really, I seemed to make all the right choices and everything went my way,” Anderson told Paddling Australia. “It’s been a really big couple of weeks with the Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships last weekend. It’s been quite stressful so it’s nice to finish off on a high note and executing what I planned to do. I’m a little worn out so a nice quick break now will be nice, see my family hopefully for a bit more and then get some volume training which is what the other internationals will be doing now.”
Jess Fox, one of the best individual paddlers of her generation, ended weekend with three gold medals in canoe, kayak and kayak cross, while Noemie won two bronze in the kayak and kayak cross. “It was a good fight from start to finish. The first quarter final was a really stacked heat, really hard from start to finish so to come away with another final makes me really happy,” Noemie said. “Just to get that consistent practice and to close off with my bronze medal was pretty cool.
“Closing off two big weekends, I’m going to have a little bit of a break to digest everything and then settle down, but it was a really intense two week block and really high quality racing out there so definitely great to get that experience under the belt. I’m heading over to Europe probably around early May, so I have a lot of work to do before then but it’s cool to get a check of where I’m at.”
The Australian Open attracted paddlers from 20 nations in what was a mini Olympics program. Jess Fox said it was a good chance to get a lot of competition practice in before heading overseas for the international season. “It’s different having back-to-back races. It almost feels like we’re on the World Cup tour moving week-to-week with a race each weekend,” she said.
“It’s just about feeling fresh, staying fresh in between and having a little bit of time to decompress and then get back into the zone. Sunday was a different format. We had a heat straight into the finals so that was an interesting experience. It was a good race, I’m happy with my racing and it’s a great opportunity to race with international athletes.”