Slalom Names Beijing Olympic Team, Parsons Medals at Augsburg World CupThe venue built for slalom's Olympic debut in 1972 hosted the World Cup #3 this weekend. The World Cup was also the final Olympic selection race being used for USACK to select the 5 athletes that would go on to the Beijing Olympic Games.
Casey Eichfeld and Rick Powell secured their Olympic selection in Friday's heats. They finished 7th in the heats (a personal best) while Austin Crane and Scott McCleskey ended up outside the top 15 and therefore did not move forward into Saturdays semi-finals. Getting down to business in Saturday's semi-final Eichfeld and Powell had a fantastic morning run on a very challenging course, but fell just a little short of making the final, finishing in 12th place overall. The C2 competition was won by Hochschorner/Hochschorner (SVK), Skantar/Skantar (SVK), Simon/Simon (GER). Crane and McCleskey finished in 18th place.
All three kayaks advanced out of the heats into the semis all placing in the top 10. The semi-final was an intense race and moved Scott Parsons and Scott Mann onto the final. Brett Heyl narrowly missed advancing-he had the fastest time in the semis, but with two touches was moved out of the running to finish 15th overall. Both Scott's paddled amazingly well in a heated final that came down to the wire. In the end Scott Parsons prevailed edging out Mann to finish 3rd and clinching his second Olympic berth. Scott Mann finished an outstanding 6th. 1st and 2nd went to Pfannmoller (GER) and Peschier (FRA) respectively.
C1's Benn Fraker, Jeff Larimer and Tad Dennis also all moved in to the semi-final with few problems. However, the difficult semi's course took its toll across the field of competitors. Fraker would be our only athlete to move into the finals, with Larimer finishing 18th and Tad Dennis 29th over all. With Fraker's progression he successfully secured his Olympic participation. He went on to place 5th in a tight final. The race was won by Bell (AUS), Indruch (CZE) and Bieryt (POL).
In the women's kayak heats Caroline Queen comfortably moved into the semi's while Heather Corrie recovered from a 50" penalty on her first run allowing her to move forward. Unfortunately, Zuzana Vanha had a devastating 2nd run to finish 47th and did not advance. The semis course proved challenging for the class. Queen paddled very well in her run but several touches prevented her from moving into the final. Corrie paddled cautiously and smoothly top to bottom and secured 16th place in addition to the women's Olympic berth.
With the successful conclusion of this event, the USA Canoe/Kayak Olympic Slalom team will be Casey Eichfeld and Rick Powell (C2), Scott Parsons (K1), Benn Fraker (C1) and Heather Corrie (K1W).
Complete results are available at http://kanu-schwaben-augsburg.de/