On a day when low water caused carnage, British pair Nicky Chesser and Tom Lusty were the winners of the K2 class at the 59th Liffey Descent canoe marathon today.
Irish pair Jenny Egan and John Simmons were first in the mixed K2 race while their Salmon leap club mate Barry Watkins took his first win in men's K1.
"I won the K2 a few years ago with Gary Mawer and I wanted to do the double - a win in both K2 and K1 - before I turned 30. My 30th birthday is next April so the pressure was on," said Watkins after his win."
Like all the paddlers in the race, he found the lack of water a challenge, but he decided to race it as a time trial. "I thought it would be won in 2 hours 20 mins and I finished in 2:10 so I'm pleased." He hit a low between Wren's Nest and the Palmerstown weir but recovered. "Someone shouted that I had a five minute lead so I pushed on. "
Finishing second was Tom Brennan who has been going for a fourth consecutive win.
In the mixed K2, Jenny Egan was winning for a second year. Last year, she won with her brother Peter; this year her partner was Jon Simmons, to whom she became engaged earlier this week.
" Because of the lack of water it was a very different race to the usual - we were 30 minutes slower than last year and it was a long, hard slog. We knew were the first mixed boat all along the course and we finished fifth boat over the line which isn't bad".
Race winners Chesser and Lusty were delighted just to finish the race and take a first win.
"We were fourth going into the first weir at Straffan and got our line right and found ourselves in the lead. After that we kept pushing -and no-one caught up with us," the pair said after their win.
Cresser is a Liffey veteran but for Lusty, who is the fastest 1000m man in Britain, it was a first.
"We lost time on the portages, but were strong on the flat water," said Chesser.