How did she do?
How did she do so well*? Because she smoked her competitors on the paddle section. How did she smoke her competitors? Because she knew how to paddle. Because she took paddling lessons and worked at it. This is the difference that knowing how to paddle, versus getting in a boat with no training and paddling makes. So after you get that shiny new kayak, get someone to teach you how to use it. You don't have to be entering race, you just have to be motivated to have more fun in a boat. And who doesn't want to do that!
Congratulations Beth, I will paddle with you anytime.
*okay, Beth is also a personal trainer - so in great shape - and the field was small... But her paddling skills definitely made a difference.