Australia's canoe sprint paddlers journey to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics begins on Thursday at the opening ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Poland.
For the paracanoe team, Poznan will be the only World Cup before the World Championships at the end of August, which will decide the first round of Olympic and Paralympic quota spots.
In the women’s K4, South Australian Cat McArthur has taken over the stroke seat and will be backed by 2012 Olympian Jo Brigden-Jones and Rio Olympians Alyce Burnett and Alyssa Bull in Poznan.
Brigden-Jones is the senior on the women’s team and is thrilled to be contesting the international season on her 16th Australian team.
“It’s awesome to be racing in the Australia team for this year’s world cups and then hopefully for the World Championships later on," she said.
"It’s a big, important year, so it’s really great to be part of a fantastic team who are all hungry to do really well and I’m pretty honoured that this will be my 16th year on an Australian team.
"Yes, I’m old, but it’s pretty cool and hopefully I can bring some good experience to the team and help some people out along the way and make sure we qualify for Tokyo."
Along with the K4, she will be competing in the K1 200 with McArthur while K4 teammates Alyce Burnett and Alyssa Bull will also race the women’s K1 1000.
“The K4 is the priority. It’s the big boat and we want to qualify the most spots for the Games so we’ll be making sure we can put our best foot forward come August,” Burnett said.
Western Australian Jaime Roberts will be contesting the women’s K2 200 and 500 together with Brianna Massie before moving into the women’s K4 for the next World Cup while Jo Brigden-Jones will be moving into the K2.
Bernadette Wallace makes her return to the national squad following a touch with cancer (melanoma) in 2016.
The 29-year old sister of Olympic champion Kenny Wallace kayaker turned canoeist will be aiming to qualify the women’s canoe double together with Josephine Bulmer this season with the women’s C1 and C2 classes to premier at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.