Fisher and Carrington reflect on the photo-finish of the first epic battle

Aimee Fisher and Dame Lisa Carrington congratulated each other after their rivalry reached a new level at this weekend’s National Canoe Sprint Championships at Lake Karapiro.

World champion Fisher and Olympic champion Carrington squared off in the women’s K1 500m final on Saturday morning in the first of three races to decide who will win New Zealand’s spot in the event at the World Championships.

Fisher drew first blood with an epic race photo-finish, beating Carrington by 0.08 seconds to win the national title.

She told 1News shortly after the race that it was an emotional moment for her.

“It’s so cool to share it with all my people,” Fisher told 1News.

“There was so much love there and I felt it all. Especially in the last 100 meters when everything hurts and stops, I could hear it, I could hear everyone cheering and that blew me away. carried, it carried me to the finish line.”

Fisher said she “felt like” she had won the race as officials waited for the photo-finish, but the result was just the icing on the cake of a special moment for the sport.

“At the end of the day, it was just a phenomenal race to be in – it was a clash of the titans and she’s an incredible athlete and it’s a real privilege to go out blow for blow with her.”

The couple shared a hug after getting out of the water, which Fisher says perfectly reflects their rivalry.

“We have a lot of respect for each other and at the end of the day it’s just two people who have a crack and it’s just one race,” she said.

“And it’s nice to be able to celebrate everyone’s performance at the end.

“I have plenty of time for her.”

“It means a lot to both of us” – Carrington

Carrington reciprocated the feelings soon after, telling 1News in an exclusive interview that she felt Fisher chasing her during the final leg of the race.

“I’ve said it many times – Aimee is an amazing athlete and kayaker so I know how much this race means to her,” Carrington said.

“It means a lot to both of us, so to go out there and have us both play and do our best, that’s really cool.

“It was a tough race but I mean, congratulations to her.”

Carrington, however, conceded that the rare second place stung a bit.

Dame Lisa Carrington and Aimee Fisher embrace after the K1 500m National Final.

“It’s hard to be second, but in the end it would happen eventually,” she said.

What made Carrington smile was seeing how strong canoe sprinting is in New Zealand after watching two full days at this year’s Nationals, featuring new faces and old.

“I think it’s pretty awesome that we can get here and see the old guys who when I started paddling – Ben Fouhy and even Rob Waddell – I think it’s really cool to see these guys come back and enjoy sports.

“It’s just great to be able to have such a tough race – I think it just pushes the sport and is really helpful with great learnings.”

READ MORE: Fouhy delighted to compete in national canoe sprint final at 43

Looking into Sunday’s second race against Fisher, Carrington said she doesn’t need to make any big adjustments or sound the alarm.

“It can be very difficult to save performances, so I think for me it’s just to be able to do my best tomorrow,” she told 1News.

“She’s going to do her best and that’s really how we’re going to get the best out of ourselves.

“If we both show up to have a really good race, I think you can’t deny how good that is for our sport.”

Carrington and Fisher will race another K1 500m on Sunday to help with a third race scheduled for next week if officials believe it is needed to determine world championship selection.