World champ kayaker chases dreams

Lov­ing life and go­ing fast

Napier Courier - - NEWS -

Aimee Fisher loves her life. It’s chal­leng­ing, some­times over­whelm­ing and hard, but hugely sat­is­fy­ing. It’s also a life very dif­fer­ent from most other 23 year olds who have stud­ied at EIT.

A Sport Hawke’s Bay and EIT sports schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ent in 2013 and in 2014, Aimee is an elite sportswoman who is a ca­noe sport world cham­pion and a mem­ber of the NZ Olympic team.

She be­gan her study at EIT with a Bach­e­lor of Busi­ness Stud­ies. In 2014, she was se­lected for the NZ elite se­nior team, which re­quired a trans­fer to Auck­land. She com­pleted the se­mes­ter by cor­re­spon­dence. In 2015, she cross cred­ited to Auck­land Uni­ver­sity and took up Health Science. Then sport took a pri­or­ity as she trained for world champs and the Olympics. This year she started dis­tance study­ing for a Bach­e­lor of Arts through Massey Uni­ver­sity.

Aimee be­lieves her EIT ex­pe­ri­ence has been crit­i­cal in get­ting both her study and ath­letic de­vel­op­ment “off in a good way”.

“I know I am very for­tu­nate to have been gifted with cer­tain tal­ents, and for the op­por­tu­ni­ties that are al­low­ing me to chase my dreams. I love that ev­ery day I can see how fast Aimee can be. It’s an hon­our to be able to ex­press my­self in this way.”

Part of her stress comes from jug­gling full time sport with ed­u­ca­tion. How­ever, Aimee says that it’s im­por­tant for her well­be­ing to have some­thing else to fo­cus on, an­other pur­pose in her life. Bal­anc­ing the two is dif­fi­cult but over the years, she has learned how to make both work for her.

“It’s not that you’re just lim­ited by time, you’re lim­ited by en­ergy as well,” she ex­plained. “We train so close to the edge. We’re al­ways push­ing so hard to im­prove phys­i­cally that we’re in a con­stant state of fa­tigue. Now I study on a Wed­nes­day and Sun­day, our half and full day off. I’m awake enough to fo­cus.

“Now I know what my body and mind can and can’t do. I also un­der­stand bet­ter what my pri­or­i­ties are. Be­fore the world champs, rac­ing is my pri­or­ity, study takes a back seat. I front Aimee Fisher, world cham­pion kayaker cred­its a Sport Hawke’s Bay and EIT sports schol­ar­ship for help­ing her to jug­gle her elite sports goals with fu­ture ca­reer dreams.

load as much of my study as I can, even be­fore a se­mes­ter starts, and then I ask for ex­ten­sions so I can catch up.

“When I’m not train­ing it is so much eas­ier to get study done. But sport is my pri­or­ity as I’ve only got a short win­dow of po­ten­tial and time to chase my dreams, to achieve my goals.

“I now think my ed­u­ca­tion is a long game. It doesn’t mat­ter that it might take me nine years to com­plete my de­gree. It’s a case of chip­ping away.”

Aimee used one year’s sports schol­ar­ship grant to pur­chase a then top of the line kayak that meant she was on equal terms with her com­peti­tors. It also meant she could re­main within her Hawke’s Bay sup­port net­work.

“Peo­ple who were emo­tion­ally in­vested in help­ing me. My fam­ily, friends, Sport Hawke’s Bay, Aspyre Fit­ness and the Jar­rod Cun­ning­ham Trust. Ev­ery­one who wanted to help Aimee go faster.

“When I went to Auck­land Uni­ver­sity I felt like a bit of a num­ber. It was a re­ally big con­trast af­ter EIT where it’s so sup­port­ive, not just fi­nan­cially but my lec­tur­ers re­ally un­der­stood the chal­lenge I was fac­ing as an elite ath­lete. That time set me up so well.”

Fisher was re­cently back in Hawke’s Bay af­ter a gru­elling yet suc­cess­ful time at the ca­noe sport World Cham­pi­onships held in Por­tu­gal. The event is a bench­mark for teams be­fore

qual­i­fy­ing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In 2015, in the build up to the Rio Olympics qual­i­fiers, Aimee and her K4 team­mates man­aged to qual­ify for the A-fi­nal by a frac­tion of a sec­ond. In Au­gust 2018 the team took sec­ond place in the A fi­nal by a solid 10cm.

“The Hun­gar­i­ans have dom­i­nated K4s for the last 10 years and now we’re right up there with them.

“We are aim­ing for gold in Tokyo.”

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