HENLEY College paddler Sam Kirschstein has his sights set on going even faster in 2014
HENLEY College paddler Sam Kirschstein has his sights set on going even faster in 2014 following a season which saw him crowned junior national kayak champion for the second consecutive year.
The 17-year-old from Peppard won the U17 K1 1,000 metres title at the regatta in Nottingham in April, as well as pairing up with Ed Haws in the pairs K2 events around Europe.
But Kirschstein is targeting solo success in 2014, with a medal at the Junior European Championships in Paris, which will involve paddling faster than he’s ever gone before.
“I’m going for a K1 spot next year and to get that I need to take 10 seconds off my personal best, which isn’t going to be easy,” said Kirschstein.
“Interest in the sport has grown massively [since the London 2012 Olympic Games], there’s so much more involvement and it’s booming with people coming through the juniors.
“My goals for next year are definitely the junior European Championships, in Paris, and the junior World Championships, in Hungary.
“For the last two years I’ve been [junior] national champion, so hopefully I can keep that going for another three years. I would like to medal at the Euros.”
The Henley College student has benefited from the experience of new coach Ian Wynne, a bronze medallist from the Athens Olympics in 2004, as well as senior kayak stars.
“Ian has taken over and is doing a really good job. I train all the time by myself and at my club and Ian has managed to work it out that every second day I have someone to train with.
“I got to train with Rachel Cawthorne [double 2012 Olympic kayak finalist] throughout the summer which was really good.”
Kirschstein’s brothers Nico and Tony were also junior international kayakers, but now Nico is supporting Sam in another way.
“My brother Nico does physiotherapy at Brunel so he’s actually my physio,” he said.
“I’m intending to go to university to study architecture or design or something in that area.
“I’m looking at Kingston as that’s where I would need to go to carry on kayaking because it’s close to the Royal Canoe Club where the U23 team is situated.
“I’ve been put down for a UK Sport proposal for funding for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”
Kirschstein is also supported by the Lloyds TSB Local Heroes Scheme, which he says has helped him learn how to deal with the media and get his name recognised.
“The scheme has supported me a lot with the funding they have given me,” he said.
“The workshops we’ve had have been really beneficial as well to see what the future can hold.”
Lloyds Bank Local Heroes, in partnership with Sports Aid, has supported 1000 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes. As part of Lloyds Bank’s commitment to helping future sports starts prosper, the programme has continued in 2013.