I say, women paddling C1 in the DW, whatever next!

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce the two women athletes who will be paddling The Darkness racing C1 in the 2014 Waterside series and DW; Isobel Smith and Megan Middleton.

Isobel Smith is a 19 year old canoeist who paddles for Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club (BCCC). She is currently ranked in marathon division 4.

I had often seen Isobel and her sister Naomi on the water in a K2 during the Waterside race series as they came zooming past with their distinctive hair colour, in perfect synchronisation and almost telepathic communication. They have a seeming effortless paddling style and if ever a coach needed to show students an example of perfect double kayaking, this would be it.

Isobel and Naomi Smith

Isobel and Naomi Smith

Clearly with talent like that, results inevitably follow and Isobel holds more current Waterside records than any other competitor:

Waterside A
• K2 Junior Ladies: Smith & Middleton – Fowey/BCCC 2:03:37 2013

Waterside B
• K2 Junior Ladies: Smith & Middleton – Fowey/BCCC 2:35:50 2013

Waterside C
• K2 Junior Ladies: Smith & Smith – Basingstoke Canal 3:34:01 2012

Waterside D
• K2 Ladies: Smith & Smith – Basingstoke Canal 5:03:29 2010
• K2 Junior Ladies: Smith & Smith – Basingstoke Canal 5:36:03 2012

Waterside Series
• K2 Ladies: Smith & Smith Basingstoke Canal 13:19:06 2011
• K2 Junior Ladies: Smith & Smith Basingstoke Canal 13:19:06 2011
• K2 Junior Mixed: Middleton & Pearce 14:32:40 Fowey 2009

Isobel has also completed three junior DW events:

• 2009 18:15:05 Isobel Smith & Naomi Smith 3rd BCCC & All Hallows
• 2010 16:28:58 Isobel Smith & Naomi Smith 4th BCCC & All Hallows
• 2013 18:25:23 Isobel Smith & Megan Middleton 6th BCCC & Fowey River

Winning:

2009:
• The Junior Team Trophy
• The BSCA Junior Trophy
• Third position plaque
• Junior Ladies Trophy

2010:
• The Junior Team Trophy
• The BSCA Junior Trophy

2013:
• The Junior Ladies Trophy

As a junior she was not allowed to paddle a single boat and moving directly from a double kayak to a single canoe for DW will present a considerable challenge, the biggest of which will be the duration on the water, for example an additional 1.5 to 2 hours effort on Waterside D alone.

The second team member is Megan Middleton who is a member of Fowey River Canoe Club in Cornwall. Also 19 years old and ranked in marathon division 5.

Megan and Isobel - DW 2013

Megan and Isobel – DW 2013

I didn’t think I’d seen her paddle before but my wife Rowan and I photographed some of the crews exiting the Bruce Tunnel on the first day of the 2013 DW. I said to Rowan “look, there’s Naomi and Isobel Smith” not realising that Megan was cunningly disguised as Naomi! In fact I didn’t even know that they knew each other until I had independently approached them both as potential C1 paddlers. No one ever tells me anything!

Megan is the current holder of the DW record for a mixed junior crew; in 2010 she completed the course with her paddling partner Michael Southey in 16 hours 24 minutes.

She also holds the following Waterside records:

Waterside A
• K2 Junior Ladies: Smith & Middleton – Fowey/BCCC 2:03:37 2013

Waterside B
• K2 Junior Ladies: Smith & Middleton – Fowey/BCCC 2:35:50 2013

Waterside Series
• K2 Junior Mixed: Middleton & Pearce 14:32:40 Fowey 2009

Megan has completed the DW four times as a junior:

• 2009 18:31:30 Megan Middleton & Ryan Pearce 5 Fowey River
• 2010 16:24:08 Megan Middleton & Michael Southey 2 Fowey River
• 2012 18:38:04 Megan Middleton & Dan Palmer 3 Fowey River
• 2013 18:25:23 Megan Middleton & Isobel Smith 6 BCCC & Fowey River

Winning:

2009:
• The Oliver Brown Trophy

2010:
• The Oliver Brown Trophy
• The Trans-Class Team Trophy
• Second position plaque

2012:
• The Oliver Brown Trophy,
• Third position plaque

2013:
• The Junior Ladies Trophy

Megan will also migrate to a single C1 for Waterside and DW 2014 and be in competition with Isobel rather than in the same kayak, what fun!

The next time these two women are in a similar picture frame as below, they will have completed the 2014 DW in a C1.

Megan and Isobel - DW 2013 © Copyright - Olly Harding

Megan and Isobel – DW 2013 © Copyright – Olly Harding

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