Johannesburg - Bridgitte Hartley has starred at the South African Sprint Canoeing Championships on the weekend at Nagle Dam, near Cato Ridge, KwaZulu-Natal, as the Olympic bronze medallist ticked all the boxes in her long-term strategy aimed at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Hartley comfortably won the Senior Victrix Ludorum title after a weekend of winning all her K1 races and also contesting several K2 finals against a field that showed plenty of competitive talent coming through the ranks.
She pronounced herself satisfied with her form at this stage in the season.
"I've had a really good build-up season and off-season, in the swimming pool and skiing. I've been working a lot harder in the gym and challenging myself more. I'm really looking forward to the serious racing season.
"I was hoping to break my 1 minute 52 second time from the KZN Champs a few weeks ago because the conditions were pretty much the same. But I know when it comes to the international season I'll be able to push myself harder."
Hartley was put under pressure in that 200m K1 final by Hungarian ace Timea Paksy, who has relocated to South African with plans to qualify for the Rio 2016 Games for South Africa.
"Timea being here is a big boost for the sport," said Hartley.
Under-23 stars Kerry Segal and Jenna Ward took the second and third places on the overall women's points table.
Cape speedster Alasdair Glass outclassed a strong field of KZN locals to scoop the Victor Ludorum title, edging out Dusi champ Andy Birkett, under-23 star Stu McLaren and two former marathon world champions, Cam Schoeman and Brandon van der Walt.
The Peninsula Canoe Club racer won a tough 1000m K1 final and then finished second in the 500m K1 final to on-form Greg Louw, while he also grabbed key points in the K2 finals with his partner Ant Collopy to secure the overall title.
McLaren's consistently competitive results saw him take the overall under-23 title from Brandon van der Walt, while Segal edged out Ward to take the women's under-23 title.
Louis Hattingh wrapped up the junior title, while Donna Hutton took the junior girls' honours.