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#ThisGirlCan: Dalton teenager makes a splash on the world stage

September 11, 2015

The Dalton teenager was part of the Great Britain team who flew to North Carolina for the ICF Junior and Under-23s Wildwater Canoeing World Championships.

Taylor, a member of Duddon Canoe Club, tackled the Nantahala River, near Bryson City, over four days of competition.

The 17-year-old was one of three under-18s competing in the single women's kayak discipline for Great Britain in what was her first taste of international competition.

Taylor and the GB team had a week of training as they prepared to take on 12 other nations and nearly 150 athletes in the battle to be crowned World Champions.

The Nantahala River was a perfect venue, which is not too difficult to race but hard to tackle at speed as there are so many racing lines.

Athletes raced super light composite boats that are a little wider than the paddlers hips but longer than anything else you will see on a river.

Training on the whole went well, but disaster struck for one of the GB team when he dislocated a shoulder and could only watch his team-mates after that.

The first day of competition was all about the classic, which is a long race of 2.2 miles.

The British team had had nearly a week on the river working out the best lines between the surfing rapids and ended Nantahala Falls.

The distance would take a recreational paddler about 45 minutes, however the fastest athletes completed the course in close to 12 minutes.

The Czech Republic swept the golds in nearly all the junior classes, while Taylor finished 21st with a time of 15:06.31, 2:31.45 behind the winner.

Day two saw Taylor back on the classic course in the team race, which sees three paddlers in the same type of boat starting and finishing within 10 seconds of each other.

The team is only as fast as the slowest paddler, so tactics come into play.

The Czech team took gold again, however a fantastic display from Taylor and the GB team saw them finishjust outside the medals in fourth.

Day three was the start of the sprints, which consist of two short races of 450m down Nantahala Falls, with the fastest 12 paddlers racing to be world champion in the final.

Taylor did not make the final, finishing 22nd in the first heat with a time of 1:30.68 and 17th on the second run for an overall placing of 17th with a time of 1:28.86.

She said: “The Nantahala Falls were intimidating at first, but once I had practised on them I gained experience which gave me the confidence to go faster and faster down them.

“I feel so proud to have represent my country, the experience was amazing and I met some fantastic people and made some good friends from all over the world.

“I can't wait to try out for next year’s World Championships in Austria.”