A 12 week kayak training programme was evaluated in children who either had or did not have the anthropometric characteristics identified as being unique to senior elite sprint kayakers. Altogether, 234 male and female school children were screened to select 10 children with and 10 children without the identified key anthropometric characteristics. Before and after training, the children completed an all-out 2 min kayak ergometer simulation test; measures of oxygen consumption, plasma lactate and total work accomplished were recorded. In addition, a 500 m time trial was performed at weeks 3 and 12. The coaches were unaware which 20 children possessed those anthropometric characteristics deemed to favour development of kayak ability. All children improved in both the 2 min ergometer simulation test and 500 m time trial. However, boys who were selected according to favourable anthropometric characteristics showed greater improvement than those without such characteristics in the 2 min ergometer test only. In summary, in a small group of children selected according to anthropometric data unique to elite adult kayakers, 12 weeks of intensive kayak training did not influence the rate of improvement of on-water sprint kayak performance.