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Army December 10, 2009
AT THE ripe old age of 36, WO2
Aaron Coutts, SCMA, has all but
given up on the idea of kayaking at
the 2012 London Olympics. Not that
he ever hung his hat on an Olympic
dream, but if he had taken up the
sport earlier ... well, who knows?
As he looks ahead to what is likely
to be his last season in open compe-
tition, that reflection on what might
have been is the Operations Warrant
Officer's only real regret from seven
years of elite-level kayaking.
Having been a training leader in
white-water kayaking for his Army
unit in Adelaide, he turned to the sprint
version of the sport as a way of keep-
ing fit after bowing out of the rugby
union front row with a dodgy ankle
But, as he admits, "I can't just keep
fit". So he went along to a talent identi-
fication session at the South Australian
Sports Institute and landed himself in
a two-year high-performance program
aimed at producing an internationally
competitive K4 (four-man crew) team.
A posting to Melbourne interrupt-
ed that grooming process, but WO2
Coutts would be the last to suggest his
Army career has ever stood in the way
of his sport.
"I've been really lucky that all my
COs over my last few postings have
backed me," he says. "It just goes to
show what you can do in the Army if
you really want to."
Flexible unit arrangements have
allowed him to train twice a day, six
days a week (at present on the Yarra
River, conveniently across the road
from Victoria Barracks), and to trav-
el to state, national and international
The highlight to date has been
an unexpected haul of eight medals
(five silver and three bronze) from the
World Masters Games in Sydney in
"We beat the Hungarian K4," says
WO2 Coutts, who favours the K4
sprints, particularly over individual
events. "It's not too often you get to
beat the Hungarians."
Ahead of him, starting mid-
December, are two Australasian grands
prix (in Adelaide and Sydney), the
Victorian titles and, finally, the nation-
al championships in March.
After that, once he begins in his
winter cross-training phase, he will
look at moving out of open competi-
tion and into masters.
That won't mean taking it easy,
though. Kayakers need only be over
30 to compete as masters so, as
WO2 Coutts says, "they are still very
Dab hand with a paddle
Only one regret: London 2012 might be off the agenda, but there was no looking back once WO2 Aaron Coutts dipped his paddle into the sport of kayaking.
Photo by Briony Morgan
By LS Paul McCallum
WISE heads overcame
in the latest round of
ADFA's tradition of
The staff rugby
union team held off
a late challenge from
the students in a game
played under "golden
The staff's secret
weapon, VCDF Lt-Gen
David Hurley, started
on the bench but soon
injected himself into
the game, directing the
back of the scrum dur-
ing stoppages and sup-
porting the backs.
The staff led all the
way but had to stave off
from the students before
Army's Capt Matt
Boxall said the game
was a chance to end the
year with some social,
tion between staff and
cadets. "But thankfully
it was only 60 minutes
of play with plenty of
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