Victor Harbor's Cathy Venning wins Master Paddler of the Year

HONOURED: Victor Harbor High School teacher and Encounter paddler Cathy Venning was awarded Master Paddler of the Year at the paddling awards held in Sydney.

HONOURED: Victor Harbor High School teacher and Encounter paddler Cathy Venning was awarded Master Paddler of the Year at the paddling awards held in Sydney.

Cathy Venning has been honoured by her peers at the Paddling Australia Awards which were held in Sydney on Saturday, November 3.

A number of awards were issued for service to the sport and recipients included Olympic medalists Jessica Fox, who is the current white water world champion and Curtis McGrath, who has won numerous Para Olympic medals and Invictus Games Ambassador..

Cathy’s award was for Masters Paddler of the Year. Although the awards were issued for the year ending 2017/2018, results in the current year influenced nominations.

In 2017/18, Cathy won two world marathon medals and this year two gold and a silver. The award is the result of nominations by association members in the various paddling disciplines. There are thousands of Masters paddlers in Australia, so this award is quite an honour for Cathy.

“It was an amazing gala event with many of our sports most high profile athletes in attendance,” Cathy said.

“I was fortunate to be invited as one of three finalists in the Master Paddler of the Year. I was in great company and I was honoured to bring home the trophy this year. “It was the icing on the cake for me after winning my three medals in Portugal, the Paddle SA Masters Paddler of the Year and the Marathon Masters Paddler of the Year.”

In October the Encounter paddler competed at the Canoe Marathon World Cup in Portugal in not just one event, but three. Cathy competed in the K1, women’s K2 and the mixed K2. Cathy Venning won gold in the mixed K2, gold in the women’s K2 and silver in the K1. 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. 

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 said more than 40 countries took part in the Canoe Marathon World Cup and the sport is massive in Europe.  

“It was the biggest world championship ever held in the canoe marathon and the competition was tough,” 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.

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