Hailey McGinty.
Hailey McGinty. Brett Wortman

McGinty stakes claim

SUNSHINE Coast's Hailey McGinty had never picked up a paddle in anger when the Olympics were last held.

Now McGinty, 24, is a prospect for this year's Games in London.

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Kawana Waters Canoe Club coach Shane Dalziel believes McGinty has a good chance to make the national team after her strong showing at the New South Wales Sprint Championships during the weekend.

McGinty pressed her claims for a berth in the Australian squad with a string of impressive results at the Penrith regatta.

She finished on the podium in five events, including a victory in the K2 500m with fellow Olympics hopeful and Sunshine Coast product Alyce Burnett, 19.

"If you get a win in an Olympics trial event, that's fabulous," Dalziel said.

"She was up against the best girls in the country and quite a few of the best girls in the world, so that result is all we can ask for.

"All of the girls there were trialling for the Olympics and there were also quite a few international competitors who were there because it's winter in Europe."

McGinty combined with Burnett to comprehensively win their race in 1min 45.03sec, 2.11sec ahead of Bernadette Wallace and Naomi Flood.

The two crews then put their rivalry aside to combine for the K4 500m, where they snared second spot behind a crew consisting of another Sunshine Coast Olympics prospect, Rachel Lovell. That result was replicated in the K4 200m.

Burnett also captured second place in the K1 200m and third place in the K1 500m, finishing behind Alana Nichols on both occasions.

Her efforts served as a strong lead-up to the important selection trials at the Oceania Championships and Australian Championships in March.

"She's only been paddling for three years, so for her to get to this point now it's great," Dalziel said.

"Her progression in the next few years can only mirror the progress she's making at the moment.

"But the whole short-term goal is on the Olympic trials."

McGinty, Burnett and Lovell are all in the running for berths in the national squad, while five-time Olympian Clint Robinson and teenager Bill Bain are also in with chances.

"Young Bill Bain, he's a talent, that's for sure," Dalziel said. "What he did on the weekend (7th in the K1 1000m and 5th in the K1 500) was phenomenal, when he beat Clint (8th in the K1 1000)."



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