Canoe sprinter Lisa Carrington lived up to her world champion tag when she qualified fastest for tomorrows K1 200 final at Eton Dorney. Carrington, 23, is at her first Olympics and is relatively new to top-level competition, having burst on to the scene last year with her world championship title in Szeged, Hungary. But she doesnt seem to be having too many problems settling in at the Olympics. She and Erin Taylor made the K2 500 final earlier in the week and today Carrington looked right on top of her game. In her heat she padded easily to finish second behind a major rival, Natasa Douchev-Janics of Hungary. Carrington was timed at 41.401s, behind the Hungarians 41.221s. With six from the heat to progress to the semis, it was little more than a shakedown. Carrington was a lot more pumped up for her semi-final and won her heat in a sizzling 40.528s. Douchev-Janics won the third semi-final in 40.570s, the next fastest of tomorrows finalists. She has a good record at World Cup events against Carrington and looms as the New Zealanders biggest danger. Because the K1 200 is a new Olympic event, Carringtons time makes her the Olympic record-holder. Canoe team manager Grant Restall said Carrington was buzzing after her semi-final. Its the Olympics and everyone is peaking, so its difficult to know coming here how people have progressed. Lisa had been hoping to be at the pointy end of the field and the indications from today are that thats the case. He said Carrington was handling her first Olympics well. Part of the strategy was to race the K2 with Erin Taylor. Shes been to an Olympics before, shes a stable personality and a good mate. Thats been very helpful. Weve tried to keep things low-key with Lisa and it helps that were living out here now, where its a bit quieter. Restall was unsure how much could be read into the fact that Carrington was the fastest of the semi-finalists. Theres a bit of ducks and drakes going on at the top end of the field, but Lisa was very happy with her time. Being the fastest qualifier is important. Its a good boost psychologically, and it also means you get the most favourable lane draw. He said the K1 200 had turned out to be one of the glamour events of the week. The Brits have a potential winner of the mens race, so theres a lot of local interest, and big, noisy crowds. Its all over in 40 seconds, a flurry of paddles. Its like the 100 metres on the track and is a big attraction.
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