Rockhampton?s Mick (left) and Kathy Barsby, Leanne Francis and Kate Watson are ready to take on the world?s best.
Rockhampton?s Mick (left) and Kathy Barsby, Leanne Francis and Kate Watson are ready to take on the world?s best.

Pushed to their limits



FORGET crocodiles, a group of Rockhampton outriggers hold one fear when it comes to the training course ? the MOD.

The MOD, known in outrigging circles as the "machine of death'', is driving a strong Rocky Outriggers Canoe Club contingent towards this month's World Sprint Titles on Lake Karapiro, near Wellington in New Zealand.

The husband-and-wife team of Mick and Kathy Barsby have been joined by fellow Rocky members Leanne Francis and Kate Watson in Australia's Team Xylos V6 and V12 crews.

Mick will race in the masters category while Rocky's open women's trio is also preparing to line up against the world's best.

Training three times a week on the Fitzroy River, the Rocky competitors have also undertaken a gruelling schedule on the MOD ? an Ergo rowing machine fitted with an outrigger paddle, which lives downstairs at the Barsbys.

Being a fitness fanatic myself, I was curious to learn more about the MOD as I glanced over the beautiful Fitzroy River on sunset.

"It's horrible,'' Kate said.

"We've named it the machine of death.''

Kathy agreed: "You bust your guts to beat your time but it also focuses on strength and stroke technique.''

The Australian representatives will embark on their final regatta in preparations for their 500m, 1000m and 1500m sprint events in round two of Northern Zone OC6 Grand Prix Regatta Series at Airlie Beach this weekend.

The World Sprint Titles, held every two years, have attracted 18 countries who will hit the water in New Zealand starting on March 21.



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