WEEKEND RECAP: Sprint Nationals, Slalom World Cup, Freestyle World Cup

Aug. 28, 2012, 9 p.m. (ET)

ryan dolan

2012 U.S. Sprint National Championships (results)

Final Team Rankings:
1. Gig Harbor Canoe/Kayak Racing Team (GHCKT) 835.5
2. San Diego Canoe & Kayak Team (SDCKT) 586.25
3. Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club (LCKC) 535.75
4. Seattle Canoe & Kayak Club (SCKC) 469.5
5. Cascade Canoe & Kayak Racing Team (CCKRT) 265.25
7. Hawaii Canoe & Kayak Team (HCKT) 177
8. Washington Canoe Club (WCC) 70.5

Gig Harbor, Wash. is within an hour’s drive from Green Lake, the site of the 2012 U.S. Sprint National Championships. But the Gig Harbor Canoe/Kayak Racing Team felt right at home as they won their first National Championship Team Title. The host club, Seattle Canoe & Kayak Club, finished fourth in the team points rankings.

Ryan Dolan (pictured above) and his fellow Hawaiian paddlers led the way in Men’s Kayak. Dolan won the K1 200m and 500m finals and then partnered with Shawn Kahookele to win the K2 200m race. Dolan and Kahookele joined forces with Patrick Dolan and Kaihe Chong to win the K4 1000 event. Morgan House (LCKC) won the K1 1000m and then teamed up with Chris Miller (LCKC) to win the K2 500m and 1000m distances. Twenty years after his final Olympic Games, four-time Olympic medalist Greg Barton (SCKC) won the 5000m event, outlasting the 22-year old Ryan Dolan.

When Maggie Hogan (SDCKC) and Kaitlyn McElroy (OKCRS) weren’t teaming up to win National Championship titles in Women’s Kayak, they were battling each other for them. Together, they won each K2 race. Hogan and McElroy finished first and second, respectively, in each K1 event. The LCKC foursome of Alexandra McLain, Sheila Paul, Macy Dwyer and Cannie Ash won K4 500m final.

Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club paddlers dominated the Men’s Canoe events, winning seven of eight Senior races. Ian Ross won the C1 500m, 1000m and 5000m finals, while David Aldrich (CCKRT) won the 200m distance. Robert Finlayson, Ben Hefner and LCKC Coach Cladiu Ciur combined with Ross to win the C2 and C4 events.

In Women’s Canoe, Rachel Marcuson (SDCKT) won seven of eight Senior events. Marcuson and teammate Opal Theodossi placed second in C2 200m behind Angela Wang and Anna Socha (SCKC).


2012 Freestyle World Cup No. 1 (results)

Siblings Dane and Emily Jackson (Rock Island, Tenn.) represented well for the first family of freestyle in their home state of Sparta, Tenn., winning the Men’s Canoe and Women’s Kayak events, respectively.  Americans Jordan Poffenberger and Hunter Katich won the Men’s OC and Men’s Junior Kayak events, respectively.

The Freestyle World Cup series continues next weekend in Hartford, Tenn., Aug. 28-30.


2012 Slalom World Cup No. 4 (results)

Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.) placed 9th in the competitive Men’s Kayak with a final round time of 96.89, including 2 penalty seconds. The event was very well attended with only Olympians Peter Kauzer of Slovenia and Daniele Molmenti of Italy missing among the top-ranked K1 Men in Prague, Czech Republic. Smolen finished ahead of 2012 Olympic silver medalist Vavrinec Hradilek of Czech Republic and bronze medalist Hannes Aigner of Germany. Smolen’s time was +7.17 seconds behind the first place finisher Etienne Daille of France, who finished 7th at the 2012 Olympic Games. The 18-year-old Smolen ranked 2nd after the semifinal round. Scott Mann (Woodstock, Vt.) and Aaron Mann (Bethesda, Md.) placed 43rd and 51st, respectively.

Team USA will take part in World Cup No. 5 next weekend in Bratislava, Slovakia, Aug. 31-Sept. 2.

Michal Smolen, Slalom Kayak: “When the race finally started, I had my mind set not only trying to qualify for the semifinals and finals, but also on what I needed to do on the course in order to put together solid runs. With regards to results, my runs were solid for the most part - in the heats. After I qualified for semis, I knew that I had to be very focused and forceful in order to get a better result than the day before. Obviously, I put together a run that got me safely into finals, but the real reason I was happy when I crossed the finish line after my semi-final run was because I made multiple mistakes, which I was able to fix. Being able to deal with those mistakes was truly a learning experience for me and I will be using it as I prepare for the last World Cup this upcoming weekend. After that, I think that the next step for me is to reflect on what worked and what didn't work for me this season. Many things I did during this race will likely go on the ‘what worked’ list as I am confident that approaching races the way I approached this one will give me good results.”

U.S. Slalom Team Coach Rafal Smolen: “What was very encouraging was that [Rafal’s] paddling in the World Cup wasn’t perfect. Every run had some mistakes and he still was able to comfortably advance to the final. His final run time was actually very fast until he made a major mistake towards the bottom of the course. This year he has been improving his race strategies and approach to every run. I think with experience of racing in the high level competitions, he will be able to develop consistency and get even better performances.”

USA Canoe/Kayak CEO Joe Jacobi: "Following the Olympics a few weeks ago, it's fantastic to see USA Canoe/Kayak's youth movement step up this weekend. From Michal's Top 10 finish at the Slalom World Cup to Alan Anderson's Gig Harbor Racing Team capture top club honors for the first time at Sprint Nationals to kicking off the Freestyle World Cup in four-time World Champion Dane Jackson's backyard in Tennessee, it was a terrific to see our young paddlers showcase the diversity of the sport at the highest level."

USA Canoe/Kayak is a non-profit membership organization based in Oklahoma City, OK, promoting canoe and kayak racing in the United States. A member of the United States Olympic Committee, USA Canoe/Kayak is the national governing body for the Olympic sports of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and the official U.S. federation of the International Canoe Federation. Other paddling sports sanctioned by USACanoe/Kayak include Marathon, Freestyle, Wildwater, Stand Up Paddleboard, Canoe Polo, Canoe Sailing, Outrigger, and Dragon Boat. For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, please visit us on the web at www.usack.org, on Twitter at @usacanoekayak and Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/USACanoeKayak.