There is no doubt Victor Harbor High School teacher Cathy Venning is an Ironwoman. The Encounter paddler competed at the Canoe Marathon World Cup in Portugal in not just one event, but three!
Cathy competed in the K1 and the women’s K2 and surprisingly grabbed the opportunity to take part in the mixed K2.
“I was not expecting to compete in the mixed K2, but Darren Lee, who is from New South Wales had his partner fall ill, so I was approached. I do not know how to say no, but very happy I said yes, as we won by more than five minutes,” Cathy said.
Cathy Venning won gold in the mixed K2 and with paddler Jenni Bateman also won gold in the women’s K2.
In the K1 event, Cathy won silver, just a minute behind the winner. In a time frame of two days Cathy had paddled in three marathon events, each one covering 19.5 kilometres.
“I was exhausted, but totally pumped. What an experience it was,” Cathy said.
Cathy competed in South Africa in 2017 and won bronze in the K1 and silver with fellow Encounter paddler Marc Brehin. However, Marc was unable to go to Portugal this year, but Cathy said he was still great support.
“Marc was a big help in my preparation for Portugal this year, even though he could not compete personally,” she said.
It was a herculean effort by Cathy who is respected throughout the Fleurieu and in particular by her students at Victor Harbor High School. Cathy is a role model to many of her students at the school. Cathy said there was more than 40 countries taking part in the Canoe Marathon World Cup.
“It was the biggest world championship ever held in the canoe marathon. The sport is massive in Europe and the competition is tougher than I have ever experienced. I went to Portugal aiming for a personal best and I achieved that, so to medal was a bonus,” Cathy said.
Cathy is president of Encounter Paddling, which trains Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4.30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8am at Encounter Lakes and new members are welcome.
“The Encounter Paddling Club has been a massive support to myself,” she said.