Photo of Ken Wallace and David Smith in kayak
Sprint canoers Ken Wallace and David Smith. Photo credit: Delly Carr
Photo of Paula Harvey paddling
Sprint canoe athlete Paula Harvey. Photo credit: Delly Carr

The AIS is transitioning out of directly delivering sport programs to empower sports to manage their entire high performance pathway, a priority action of Australia's Winning Edge.

For details on the high performance plans of individual sports please contact the relevant national sports organisation.

Sprint canoeists/kayakers require strength, explosive power, endurance and balance to guide what is an unstable craft through flatwater. It is a repetitive sport that needs highly specialist training. The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) program uses the latest research and understanding of an athlete's physiology to give coaches a leading edge in designing training programs for sprint canoeists/kayakers.

Olympic Canoeing

Canoeing as a men's sport was first admitted to the Olympics at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. The next occurrence of the sport at an Olympic Games was not until 1948. The first Women's kayaking event was at the 1948 Olympic Games.

Sprint Events

Both canoes and kayaks are raced at the Olympic Games. The type of craft and the number of people in the craft are expressed in the name eg K1 is a single kayak event, K2 a doubles kayak event and C1 and C2 are single and doubles canoe events respectively.

Men compete at 500m and 1000m in all the above four types as well as in the K4 over 1000m. Women compete at 500m in the three kayak types K1, K2, K4.

In a kayak event racers sit with legs forward and use a double bladed paddle. In the canoe events the crew kneels and uses a single bladed paddle.

The race is contested on flat water and boats must keep to the centre of their lanes, staying at least 5m from the closest boat. A System of heats and semi-finals is used to determine who reaches the finals.

About AIS Sprint Canoe/Kayak

The AIS/national team training facility for Sprint Canoe/Kayak was opened at Pizzey Park, Mermaid Waters on the Gold Coast in June 1991, and became the permanent base for the AIS Canoeing program. The program began as a residential program, but is now a camps-based program, with AIS athletes from all over Australia coming together to train for a specific number of weeks in the year. The canoeing program operates under the direction of Australian Canoeing National Performance Director Richard Fox.

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