(Lefevre in C1)
Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.) and Devin McEwan (Salisbury, Conn.) finished 14th in men’s double canoe with a penalty-free semifinal time of 129.08, which was +12.20 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher.
In women’s kayak, Ashley Nee (Bethesda, Md.) missed a gate en route to a 28th place finish in the semifinal. Her time of 179.53 was +61.56 behind the round’s first place finisher.
WHAT: 2013 ICF Slalom World Cup No. 4
WHERE: Ljubljana-Tacen, Slovenia
WHEN: August 16-18
WHO: U.S. Senior National Team
Click HERE for complete results.
The weekend was highlighted by Fabien Lefevre’s 4th place finish in C-1 and Eichfeld’s hot start in the C-1 heats. Team USA is already in Bratislava, Slovakia, site of the World Cup Final.
“We have made it to Bratislava where the 5th and final World Cup of the season will take place,” Eichfeld said via Facebook. “We already snuck in a session this evening. Let me tell you, it was a blast! It always feels great to hop in the boat after a few hours in the car.”
Fabien Lefevre (Bethesda, Md.) nearly earned his 2nd World Cup medal of the 2013 season, this time in canoe. The two-time Olympic medalist for France finished fourth in the C1 final with a penalty-free time of 110.14, which was +1.86 seconds behind the first place finisher. He finished a fifth of a second away from the Bronze medal. He reached the final with a 7th place semifinal time of 111.79, which was +6.03 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher.
Lefevre, who won Bronze at the 2013 World Cup No. 1 in kayak, also finished 12th in the K1 semifinal Saturday with a penalty-free time of 106.45. He finished +3.56 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher and less than half a second outside of the Top 10 and a spot in the final.
Also competing in men’s canoe, Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.) and Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.) placed 27th and 30th in the semifinal, respectively. Eichfeld started the day ranked 1st overall in C-1 after Friday's heats. The two-time Olympian incurred 6 penalty seconds en route to a time of 123.78, which was +18.02 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher. Lokken missed 3 gates en route to a time of 294.04.
“My semi-final run was pretty disappointing this morning,” Eichfeld said via Facebook. “Today I had trouble connecting with the water and that didn't lead to a great time. Yesterday was great to see how well I can compete. Now I am looking to make that more consistent! It is coming along.”
Also competing in men’s kayak, Richard Powell (Parkesburg, Penn.) finished 18th in the K1 semifinal with a time of 108.09, which was +5.20 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher.
Micki Reeves (Denver, Colo.) missed a gate en route to a 13th place finish in the women’s C1 semifinal with a time of 220.22.
In the men’s team canoe event, Lefevre, Eichfeld and Lokken finished 9th with a time of 184.21, including one missed gate penalty. Racing in his fifth race of the day, Lefevre was joined by Powell and Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.) to place 10th in the team kayak event with a time of 129.97.
“I was pretty down, but getting in the boat worked wonders,” Eichfeld said. “Our team run wasn't exactly what we wanted, but it felt really good to be on the course again. Now I'm pumped for C-2 tomorrow!”
Eight of nine U.S. boats advanced past the heats Friday and into the semifinals. After a World Cup season admittedly below his expectations, two-time Olympian Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.) burst past the field to rank 1st after heats in men’s single canoe. His penalty-free 2nd run time of 101.25 was +0.81 seconds ahead of the heats’ second place finisher – Matej Benus of Slovakia, a 2011 World Championship bronze medalist.
“Well, [I] finished the day for C-1 in 1st,” said Eichfeld, via Facebook. “It is an amazing confidence booster, but it is only a ticket into the next round. I will paddle hard again tomorrow and do what I do! Thank you everyone for your support for the team and I.”
Also advancing to Saturday’s semifinal in men’s C-1 were Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.) and Fabien Lefevre (Bethesda, Md.), who rank 20th and 26th, respectively, through heats. Lokken’s 2nd run time of 107.69 was +6.44 seconds behind Eichfeld. Lefevre’s 2nd run time of 110.25 included one gate touch penalty.
Lefevre fared better in men’s kayak, where he ranks 4th through heats to qualify for Saturday’s semifinal. His penalty-free 1st run time of 99.23 was +2.10 seconds behind the first place finisher through heats.
Richard Powell (Parkesburg, Penn.) also advanced with a 38th place rank, thanks to a first run time of 103.56, including two seconds of penalty time. Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.) missed the cut, finished 53rd with a time of 16.86.
In women’s canoe, Micki Reeves (Denver, Colo.) ranks 8th place through heats and advances to Saturday’s semifinal. Her penalty-free 2nd run time of 141.68 was +24.87 seconds behind the first place finisher through heats.
Women’s kayak Ashley Nee (Bethesda, Md.) advanced to Sunday’s semifinal ranked 29th after a 2nd run time of 122.24, which was +14.04 seconds behind the first place finisher through heats.
Eichfeld also advanced in doubles canoe with partner Devin McEwan (Salisbury, Conn.). The duo will head into Sunday’s semifinal ranked 19th after a penalty-free 1st run time of 119.11, which was +13.27 seconds behind the first place finisher through heats.
“What can I say? Today is a day that went my way,” Eichfeld said. “Tomorrow is a fresh day with a clean slate. I earned my ticket into the semis in C-1 and in C-2 with my awesome partner Devin McEwan who battled some unfortunate conditions. I am excited to move on and to paddle with all the best in our race to the finals!”
After a month-long break from World Cups and Junior World Championships, Team USA is ready to return to the whitewater this weekend for Slalom World Cup No. 4 in Slovenia. Next weekend is the World Cup Final and then the Slalom World Championships on Sept. 11-15.
Competing in both men’s C-1 and K-1, Fabien Lefevre (Bethesda, Md.) will look to continue his strong and busy World Cup series. The two-time Olympic medalist for France has recorded two top five finishes in K-1 and placed as high as 14th in C-1.
Joining him in men’s canoe are two-time Olympian Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.) and Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.). Eichfeld has finished as high as 11th at a 2013 World Cup event, while the 19-year-old Lokken placed 9th at the 2013 Under-23 World Championships.
Eichfeld team up with Devin McEwan (Salisbury, Conn.) in C-2, where the duo finished as high as 13th so far this World Cup series.
In women’s kayak, Ashley Nee (Bethesda, Md.) hopes to reach her first World Cup semifinal on the 2013 season, while women’s canoeist Micki Reeves (Denver, Colo.) will be eying her first 2013 World Cup final.
Casey Eichfeld, Men’s Canoe: “It is very exciting to be back in Europe for the remaining World Cups and World Championships. We had a month long break from travel that I filed with work and training, and now I am ready to be back in the start gate. The past few World Cups did not go entirely as I would have liked. I am really looking to paddle my way into the top ten for these remaining races. I am feeling strong in C-1 and am ready to get out there with Devin in the C-2. The C-2 is still a work in progress, but I feel that we get stronger each time on the water. I am really happy to be racing both boats.”
Fabien Lefevre, Men’s Canoe and Kayak: "My last month has been pretty intense. I had to concentrate on training and decided to spend a bit more than three weeks in Prague for working hard in both classes, K1 and C1. I got the chance to paddle with many different nations and paddlers. That was also truly interesting to see the Czech National Team daily on this course. We always learn a lot from the locals. My camp there ended up last weekend with the Czech Championships where I had good runs generally despite a strong neck ache. Since then I had a few sessions with different physiotherapists and got better. Let's say that going down the big drop in Tacen, Slovenia since the beginning of the week was probably helpful to fix this problem.”
Headquartered in Oklahoma City, USA Canoe/Kayak is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Canoe Federation. It governs the Olympic disciplines of Flatwater Sprint, Whitewater Slalom, the Paralympic discipline of Paracanoe and sanctions Freestyle, Marathon, Outrigger, Wildwater, Stand Up Paddle Board, Kayak Polo, Dragon Boat and Canoe Sailing in the United States. 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.