GOLDEN GIRLS: The gold-medal winning Australian team (from left) Lian Schmidt, Christine Den Elzen, Tania Moohin, Kylee DeRooy, Kathy Barsby and Felicia White with Robyn Saultry, (AOCRA national outrigger women's coach.
GOLDEN GIRLS: The gold-medal winning Australian team (from left) Lian Schmidt, Christine Den Elzen, Tania Moohin, Kylee DeRooy, Kathy Barsby and Felicia White with Robyn Saultry, (AOCRA national outrigger women's coach. MGL Photography

Mum's golden glory: 'That's the best race I've ever been in'

PADDLING: Kathy Barsby is still on a high after striking gold at the World Distance Championships in Mooloolaba.

The 47-year-old Rockhampton mother was a member of the Australian Masters 40 women's crew that blitzed a quality international field on Tuesday.

"It's just been so exciting. That's the best race I've ever been in,” she said.

"I can't wipe the smile off my face, to be honest, and neither can any of the other girls.

"We put our heart and soul into the race.

The Australian Masters 40 women's crew powers towards the finish line on their way to gold.
The Australian Masters 40 women's crew powers towards the finish line on their way to gold. MGL Photography

"We're not just strong athletes. We're strong of mind and body and we have a really strong connection to each other, which I think was part of our winning success.

"We were absolutely stoked when we got over the line. We never took it for granted for one moment... we just raced really hard.”

READ: Rocky mum to represent Australia at 47

Barsby said there was a good omen for the crew before the race event started.

"In the random canoe draw, we drew my club canoe which came down from Rockhampton

"We all felt really positive about that because we'd raced that canoe at the Cap Coast a few weeks ago.

"The chances of that happening were unbelievable so to go out in that canoe was amazing.”

The Australian team (back row, from left) Kylee DeRooy, Lian Schmidt, Felicia White and Kathy Barsby and (front) Tania Moohin, and Christine Den Elzen left their international rivals in their wake.
The Australian team (back row, from left) Kylee DeRooy, Lian Schmidt, Felicia White and Kathy Barsby and (front) Tania Moohin, and Christine Den Elzen left their international rivals in their wake. MGL Photography

Barsby said everything came together in the race.

"We were sitting with the main group at the beginning and by the first buoy we had a bit of a lead.

"As the race went on we extended the lead.

"We ended up winning by six minutes, which is quite amazing for an event like this.

"We had the Masters 50 men paddling in the division ahead of us. They started five minutes before us and we beat three of their teams so we were pretty rapt about that as well.

"We had the perfect race. That happens so few times in your sporting career that it makes it even more special.”

Kathy Barsby at Rocky Outriggers.
Kathy Barsby: "We ended up winning by six minutes, which is quite amazing for an event like this.” Allan Reinikka ROK030819abarsby2

Barsby said the support she and her crew-mates received was incredible.

"As we were finishing, as we were coming around the last turn buoy, all the Aussies were on the beach signing 'Aussie, Aussie, Aussie' and screaming out 'Go Australia'.

"When we got to the presentations, they all got in and sang the anthem as the flag was raised.

"We've been getting lots of messages from friends and family. I'm still getting hugs from people while I'm working as a volunteer today.”

Barsby and her victorious crew members now have their sights on Molokai's Hoe, a 62km outrigger canoe race between the islands of Molokai and Oahu, Hawaii.