As entries start to pour in for this weekend’s Breede River Canoe Marathon on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 September, the strong entry from Stellenbosch students includes the reunited K2 crew of Tracey Oellerman and Shannon Parker-Dennison.
They were involved in a sprint to the line to decide the women’s line honours with the Peninsula crew of Angie Austin and Kira Bester at the last pre-Breede race last weekend that covered the final stage of the marathon, and are itching to make their full Breede debut this weekend.
Last weekend’s race was held on a low Breede, just hours before the river rose dramatically when the cold front swept through the Western Cape. Oellerman says that they are looking forward to continuing a combination that started at the Fish marathon in 2017.
“We did a Fish together when she was 15 and I was 16, so we are used to being the boat together. Although we still getting use to paddling together again and sorting some stuff out we are definitely keen to do well in Breede,” said Oellerman, adding that they both come into the race off a solid base from training for and completing the Berg Marathon in August.
“We’ve somehow managed to recover nicely and with the Maties paddlers like Dave Evans, Evan Knight, Rob Pike and Ross Leslie carrying on training we were eager to get back and join in on the banter,” said Oellerman.
“Our little Maties crew is growing and we getting very competitive so Shannon and I have to jump in a double sometimes anyways to keep up with the boys.
“We are great friends and do a lot together so it’s epic to paddle with her and really just enjoy the pre Breede races and being able to do the sport we love.
“She is really strong in the back and is definitely going to be a paddler to watch in the future, especially after enduring the Berg Canoe Marathon which is a really tough race.
“This is our first Breede,” she pointed out. “The other girls know the river and love the flats but we are excited to take on the river and endure those long sections.”
Bianca Beavitt has already lodged a K1 entry for the Breede, but, interestingly, she paired up with Robyn Henderson on the weekend to race onto the podium, while the talented school girls Holly Smith and Babette van Rooyen excelled as the first Under 16 boat home.
Perennial female pacesetter Melanie van Niekerk has entered in the mixed double category with Gary Luke.
Entries are being taken right up to Friday evening for the popular two-day race from Robertson to Swellendam.