Jacqui backs Nymboida facility
JACQUI Lachmann (nee Lawrence) may be pregnant with her second child, but she's fast becoming a rarity.
The 2008 Olympic K1 silver medallist is part of a generation of whitewater athletes who mastered their talents on Goolang Creek.
Growing up in Old Bonalbo northwest of Casino, the relative proximity to Nymboida Canoe Centre meant she was able to pursue the sport competitively, and not just as a family holiday hobby.
Nowadays, an elite paddler in New South Wales realistically has to live in Sydney and there are very few options for the recreational whitewater enthusiast.
"Certainly in my generation of paddlers everyone who was a NSW paddler had trained or competed at the Nymboida Canoe Centre," the 32-year-old said.
"Now that the water's off a lot of up-and-coming paddlers wouldn't have been on the water here with full flow before, which is a shame."
Gone are the days of perfecting the craft in the great outdoors - unless the community can convince authorities to switch the water back on from Nymboida Power Station.
Clarence Valley Mayor Richie Williamson and Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis were among those at the inaugural Nymboida Adventure Festival at Nymboida Canoe Centre on the weekend to show their commitment to the facility.
There was a lot of optimism among those in attendance and Lachmann was quick to throw her hat in the ring in favour of turning on the taps.
"Everything has become centralised on the Olympic course at Penrith, which is a fantastic facility, but it's not great for starting out," she said.
"It's nothing like here and the social side that you get out of being here and camping together.
"Having regional bases like here provides a much broader base for the sport.
"I have so many good memories from here and I'd love more people to be able to experience all the things it has to offer, preferably with Goolang Creek running, but if it's not it's still a good place to be."
Jacqui's husband is Olympic sprint canoeist Torsten Lachmann, who competed for Germany up until 2005 when he started paddling for Australia. He reached the semi-finals in the C1 500m and C1 1000m events at Beijing.
The young family now lives in Lennox Head where Jacqui has swapped the slalom kayak for an ocean ski.
"I've moved on from the slalom. It was pretty serious towards the end and I'd had enough of it.
"But ocean paddling is a nice transfer of skills and something different."