If her first international assignment is an indicator Hawke's Bay kayaker Aimee Fisher has every right to be optimistic about her future in the sport.
The Karamu High School 16-year-old who had never been out of the North Island before travelling to last weekend's Australian Grand Prix 2 Regatta in Sydney returned home with two gold medals and two bronze.
Fisher won her under-16 K1 200m final and combined with Karina Radley to win gold in the under-18 K2 200m final. She collected a bronze in her K1 500m final and another in the under-18 K4 500m final.
Former Karamu High School student Jordan Pearse won gold in the under-23 K2 200m final with Kayla Imrie. They beat their Aussie rivals by almost two-and-a-half seconds.
Pearse and Imrie collected silver in their K2 500m final and Pearse, 18, was fourth in her K1 200m final.
The third Hawke's Bay paddler in the Kiwi team, Scott Bicknell, enhanced his chances of K2 1000m selection for the world championships and next year's London Olympics when he combined with Liam O'Loughlin for a third placing. They finished 0.78s behind Steven Ferguson and Darryl Fitzgerald with a time of 3m14.73s despite having just three trainings together prior to the regatta.
The Jarrod Cunningham Trust sponsored Bicknell pointed out Ferguson and Fitzgerald had been training for several months. Bicknell was placed with his former K2 partner Troy Burbidge for the K2 500m event which they finished eighth in at the 2009 world championships.
They were third, 0.92s behind Ferguson and Fitzgerald with a time of 1m33.97s.
The Aussie crew which won the K2 1000m final triumphed again.
Bicknell had a third change of partners when he combined with Chris Nutsford in the K2 200m.
They beat Fitzgerald and Ferguson in the battle for fifth place with a time of 34.61s.
"My ability to change to various crews and perform extremely well has helped to place me in a very good position in terms of selection. I was identified as a common denominator in the fastest crews we put forward," said Bicknell.
He narrowly missed the A final of the K1 200m and finished second in the B final with a time of 37.56s. Bicknell also raced in the Kiwi K4 1000m crew which finished sixth.
During the next two months Bicknell's major focus will be the national and Oceania championships and national trials where the New Zealand crews for three World Cup regattas and the world championships will be selected.
"It may be slightly optimistic, but I hope to improve on the eighth placing at the 2009 world champs this year to obtain Olympic selection," said Bicknell.
This weekend he switches to his other sport of surf lifesaving where he is representing Hawke's Bay in paddling events at the Mount Maunganui-hosted national surf league.