Canada’s Katie Vincent and Laurence Vincent-Lapointe have become so synonymous on the canoe racing circuit, that seeing Vincent out on the Plovdiv sprint canoe course all on her own this week is slightly eerie.

Vincent, of course, is an outstanding C1 paddler in her own right. It’s just that the incredible achievements she and Vincent-Lapointe have chalked up as a C2 combination, including world records and world titles, tend to overshadow her solo exploits.

Not that the 22-year-old seems to mind. And this week she will get the chance to once again show what she is capable of, when she competes at the 2018 ICF Canoe Sprint U23 and Junior World Championships.

The Canadian will resume her battle with Belarus’s Alena Nazdrova. At last year’s U23 world titles, Vincent won the C1 200 title, while Nazdrova took the C1 500 crown.

“I definitely feel a bit of pressure,” Vincent said on race eve.

“But I’m okay with it, I’m feeling really excited to have that kind of pressure, because it means you are one of the best. So hopefully I can keep going at it and we’ll see what happens.

“It’s definitely a high-calibre race. There’s no risks to take, it’s going to be hard racing for everyone.”

While this week will be a big event for Vincent, her focus is very much on this year’s World Championships in Portugal.

Longer term her focus is on Tokyo 2020, and the debut of women’s C1 and C2 on the Olympic program. Even two years out, she and Vincent-Lapointe are the shortest of short-price favourites for the C2.

“We’re always looking at things to fix up, areas to improve, so there is a lot of assessment going on,” she said.

“Things are definitely on the right track for us, so with Laurence and I in the C2 things are going well and we’re just going to keep working at it and keep fine-tuning things.”

It’s impossible for Vincent to escape the excitement that’s building in Canada ahead of Tokyo and the first appearance of women’s canoe.

More than any other country in the world, Canada can lay claim to being the home of C paddling; many still call it “Canadian 1 and Canadian 2”.

“There’s definitely a bit of a buzz, so it’s super-cool,” she said.

“Especially because for women’s canoe, it will be the first time in the Olympics, so there’s definitely a lot of hype around that.

“Canada’s known for being equal in sport and equality, so it’s exciting to be part of this journey and to be so supported by our country and our fans and our family and friends.

“It’s super exciting just to be part of it.”

The 2018 ICF Canoe Sprint U23 and Junior World Championships begin in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, On Thursday.

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