Fisher looking to re-join canoe racing squad for Paris Olympics

Source: 1News

Fresh off an early morning training on Takapuna's Lake Pupuke, Aimee Fisher sits down with a grin on her face and a coffee in her hands.

"My sessions aren't that long - that was maybe seven kilometres," she said nonchalantly.

She then described the training she'd just been through and how the goal was to keep a low stroke rate while maximising her power output but it all went out the window in the final stretch.

"I got really competitive and so I upped my stroke rate. It always happens."

It's that competitiveness that led to her epic battle with Dame Lisa Carrington earlier this year for New Zealand's only seat in the K1 500m at this year's World Championships - a clash of the titans that Carrington eventually won 2-1 in a best-of-three series.

But it wasn't just about the seat. Fisher had left the national programme two years ago to go her own way with her training and during that time managed to earn a world championship title in 2021 while Carrington was focused on the Olympics.

Aimee Fisher and Dame Lisa Carrington embrace after their decider on Lake Karapiro.

As such, to then come up just centimetres short of Carrington - the face of the national programme - had a serious impact on Fisher and left her wondering, among other things, whether a chance to team up in Paris could produce an unstoppable duo.

"You look at those results in the K1s and how equally-matched we are but when you see her race at the Olympics or the World Champs, no one comes close to her," Fisher said.

"So I think that if there is the interest to come together as a united force, it'd be good - it'd be quick!"

Carrington won gold medals in two individual events [K1 200m and K1 500m] as well as a third gold in the K2 500m with Caitlin Regal at last year's Tokyo Olympics and was a second off claiming a fourth medal with the New Zealand boat finishing fourth in the final of the K4 500m.

Lisa Carrington won three gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Fisher said those results prove how intense the competition is in New Zealand alone.

"Seeing some of the results they've had over the last two years along with the improvement I've made, I think that I can contribute to the medal count in the Olympics and I want to put my name forward, I want to try and earn a spot in the team," Fisher said.

"They've got a really good thing going on and there's a lot of talent in squad right now so I'm going to have to earn that right so I guess the discussion is going to be around what could that look like and what are their plans building into Paris."

"I need more support"

Fisher plans to meet with Canoe Racing New Zealand next week to discuss a return to the high performance environment.

"I would still expect to have autonomy over the way that I train and my programme and being able to do what I believe in," Fisher said.

"But there would be discussions around my campaign because it has been a couple of years now of me writing my own programme but it's been good enough for me to win a world championship and to win the nationals but I want to be the fastest paddler the world has ever seen and to achieve that, I need an infrastructure around me and I need more support."

Aimee Fisher reacts after being told she won the K1 500m final.

A key talking point will be Fisher's desire to have her own coach.

"I want to get some funding for that because at this stage, it has just been based on our club coach Gavin [Elmiger] volunteering his time," she said.

"He trains the squad at 6:30 and then will hang around longer to support me so that would be something I would like to push for."

While it's a lot to discuss, Fisher said she's "hopeful" heading into the meeting.

"It seems like both parties are open to coming to the table and looking to make this work.

"Paris is just around the corner and both of us want to find a way to make this work and I think as a sport we have a lot of potential to have a really successful Olympics in 2024."

Watch Guy Heveldt's story on 1News at 6pm on Thursday for more from his interview with Aimee Fisher.