Australian champions set for local classic

By Jared Loughnan

Multiple Australian champion kayakers Kate and Mick Leverett will continue their affection for the Murray River at Yarrawonga when they compete in the Yarrawonga Mulwala Canoe Club’s annual summer series race this Sunday.

Both Kate and Mick are multiple winners of the Women’s Open and Men’s Open races of the 25km Murray River Classic which is held below the weir at Yarrawonga each January.

Kate Leverett had her second top-ten finish in a week recently when she continued to surprise herself at the ICF canoe marathon world championships in Shaoxing, China.

Leverett finished a hard-fought seventh in the women’s K1, to add to her seventh in the inaugural short course marathon race at her first world championships since having a second baby.

“I really just can’t expect anything more of myself,” Leverett said.

“I worked really hard in the race and did everything I could to get there. I’m quite surprised where I’m at so soon after having my littleist.

“This is my first world championships where I’ve actually made the lead group from the start, so I feel strong and I felt really good out there. I probably just didn’t have the burns in my arms early on to stay there, so I just had to wait and regroup and try and build my way back.”

Leverett also had to overcome a finger infection in the lead-up to the world championships, so is already looking forward to returning next year with a strong lead-up.

“There was probably a little bit of doubt in my mind about how I would go, and throughout the year to be honest,” she said.

“I didn’t have huge expectations, I’ve got a fifth before so I knew I could do it, I just didn’t know if I could get back to that standard.

“I’ve gained so much inspiration from being among the pack and getting back to this level of racing. I can absolutely improve on so many things and hopefully come back this year even stronger.”

The Murray River Classic is part of the Canoeing Victoria’s Summer Series and is hosted by the Yarrawonga Mulwala Canoe Club. 

Local coach Tim Roadley said he expects another strong field of athletes at this week’s event including some local juniors.

“It’s great to see Mick and Kate returning each year.  We will also be excited to see some local juniors competing this weekend, some for the first time,” Tim said.

The Murray River Classic starts at 9am below the weir this Sunday morning with registrations opening from 7.30am.