Kime siblings make Dusi history
Lance and Robyn Kime ensured a brother-sister double for the first time in Dusi canoe marathon history as they won the individual men's and women's races in record times on the final day in Durban on Saturday.
Lance, 21, dashed the hopes of both Andrew Birkett, bidding to win a fourth successive crown, and overnight leader Sbonelo Zondi, who was on track to become the first black paddler to win the race in its 62-year history until he fell out of his boat with 14 kilometres to go.
"It hasn't sunk in as yet," the exhausted, but jubilant new champion said afterwards.
"I still haven't had a moment to think about anything.
"I think maybe only when things quieten down this evening will I fully understand what I've achieved."
The overall winning time was eight hours and 29 seconds (8:00.29), comfortably inside the previous mark of 8:03.22 done in 2007 by three-time former champion Ant Stott.
Robyn, meanwhile, clinched a fourth straight title after arriving at the finish in 9:07.16 – crushing the previous record of 9:25.36 set by Abbey Ulansky back in 2007.
Lance's stage time of 2:15.38 was also a best ever one, surpassing the oldest men's record in Dusi history, that of John Edmonds (2:18.39) from 1991.
The 2005 winner Hank McGregor came second in 8:04.38, while Zondi (8:05.50) finished third despite winning the first two stages of the race on Thursday and Friday.
The 24-year-old, who began the final day with a 68 second lead, saw his advantage quickly whittle as Lance flew past him on the Side Chute Rapid, nine kilometres into the race.
Zondi, though, regained top spot at Burma Road Portage, where he had built a 90 second gap by the top of the hill and was looking well on his way to a historic win by the time they re-entered the water.
"It was a real rollercoaster ride at that stage," Lance said.
"When I got to the top of the hill, Eric (Zondi) had gone from probably 20 seconds behind to almost two minutes in front.
"It was a lot of time to make up on one hill. So I knew it was going to be a very tough task to catch him.
"But you keep that hope in the back of your mind."
However, Zondi took a swim at Pumphouse Weirs, 22km into the 36km final stage and the rest was history, with both Lance and McGregor surpassing him.
"And later on I saw him swimming in the pool right at the bottom of the rapid," Lance said.
"It was heart-breaking for him, but at the same time I probably got the biggest adrenaline rush of my life."
Zondi was nonetheless pleased with his effort – his first individual podium finish after also ended third in the K2 category last year.
"I'm still really happy to be on the podium today," Zondi said.
"I was very focused after Burma, but I made a mistake at Pumphouse where I nearly lost my boat, my life, my paddle.
"But I managed to recover and I'm glad to have ended where I did."
Birkett, who won two K2 and one K1 title over the past three years, came fourth in 8:09.17, while Thulani Mbanjwa (8:13.11) was fifth.
Robyn lead the race from just before the five kilometre mark and never looked back with her final stage time of 2:36.56 also smashing the previous best time of Ulansky (2:43.08) in 2007 by over six minutes.
"I'm very pleased with this," the 22-year-old said.
"From the start of the second day I knew if I could keep the race together and I would be able to win it again and I managed to do that."
Abby Adie (9:21.30) came second, while Jen Theron (9:40.55) was third.
1. Lance Kime 8:00.29 (NEW RECORD)
2. Hank McGregor 8:04.38
3. Sbonelo Zondi 8:05.50
4. Andy Birkett 8:09.17
5. Thulani Mbanjwa 8:13.11
6. Ant Stott 8:27.52
7. Jason Graham 8:28.44
8. Cam Schoeman 8:30.59
9. Jacques Theron 8:34.40
10. Zonele Nzuza 8:36.46
1. Robyn Kime 9:07.16 (NEW RECORD)
2. Abby Adie 9:21.30
3. Jen Theron 9:40.55
4. Hilary Pitchford 9:43.17
5. Bianca Haw 9:49.07
6. Jordan Peek 10:15.49
7. Jenna Ward 10:40.49
8. Brittany Petersen 10:48.56
9. Marion Young 11:05.56
10. Kelly Howe 11:12.11