The Lawrence sisters, from left, Rosalyn, Jacqui and Kate.
The Lawrence sisters, from left, Rosalyn, Jacqui and Kate.

Slalom sisters

By Steve Spinks

There must be something in the whitewater out Old Bonalbo way.

Just ask Sarah Lawrence.

The Old Bonalbo Public School teacher will be farewelling her three daughters ? Jacqui, 22, Kate, 21, and Rosalyn, 16, ? this month, as they all fly out to Europe to represent Australia in various slalom canoeing championships.

It's a mighty achievement for a family from a small country town.

For the uninitiated, slalom canoeing involves piloting a kayak down a raging river through various gates.

The competitor also has to paddle back upstream against the torrent.

A run usually lasts a little over a minute and the competitor combines their two best scores for an average. The lowest average wins.

It's an extremely tough and competitive sport and is very popular in Europe.

Rosalyn has already left Australia as part of the Australian Junior Team (Under-18s).

She will be competing in the Pre-World Championships in Slovenia next month.

The Pre-World Championships are held every second year with the Junior World Championships conducted on alternative years.

Rosalyn fought her way into the team with some outstanding paddling in selection events in Victoria and Sydney this year.

The selection criteria is quite bizarre, with paddlers selected only if they can reach a certain performance speed, which is rated against the fastest male competitors in Australia.

"She's very much looking forward to it," Mrs Lawrence said.

But she isn't the only family member on the team.

Rosalyn's oldest sister Jacqui will also be a part of the junior team ... as a coach.

After the junior campaign is finished Jacqui will stay in Europe and then compete with the Under-22 Australian team in the Under-22 World Championships.

Kate will follow both her sisters at the end of the month when the Australian senior team heads overseas.

In September, Kate will represent Australia in the World Championships in Penrith.

No doubt she'll be hoping to avoid her most embarrassing moment in slalom canoeing.

During her first Junior World Cup final a couple of years ago, Kate knocked down a gate pole on her first run and then paddled over it a number of times.

The race was then held up for 20 minutes while it was repaired.

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