(Nee at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials)
Ashley Nee (Bethesda, Md.) turned in a career-best performance Sunday, finishing 12th in the women’s K-1 semifinal with a time of 115.26, including one 2-second gate touch penalty. Her time was +5.17 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher and +0.68 seconds from the Top 10 and spot in the final.
“Hell Yeah! So stoked,” Nee said via Facebook. “12th in the Final World Cup! Career best!”
Dana Mann (Washington, D.C.) also competed in the K-1 semifinal, placing 27th. She missed a gate en route to time of 167.22.
WHAT: 2013 ICF Slalom World Cup Final
WHERE: Bratislava, Slovakia
WHEN: August 23-25
WHO: U.S. Senior National Team
The week’s racing was highlighted by the Silver medal won by the U.S. in the men’s kayak team event, Fabien Lefevre (Bethesda, Md.), Top 10 finish in C-1, and hot starts by kayaker Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.) and canoeist Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.).
“It’s good to see the slalom program building confidence heading into the Worlds in Prague,” said USA Canoe/Kayak CEO Joe Jacobi. “We have several athletes who know they are capable of strong performances in Prague.”
Final World Cup Series Standings:
K1M: Lefevre 5, Smolen 34, Richard Powell (Parkesburg, Penn.) 41
K1W: Mann 28, Nee 32
C1M: Lefevre 13, Eichfeld 18, Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.) 30
C2M: Eichfeld/Devin McEwan (Salisbury, Conn.) 20
Team USA had not had much success in the team events through the first four World Cups this year, finishing as high as 7th in men’s C-1 and 10th in men’s K-1. That changed Saturday as the kayak trio of Fabien Lefevre (Bethesda, Md.), Richard Powell (Parkesburg, Penn.) and Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.) won the Silver medal with a time of 111.67, including 2 penalty seconds.
They finished 1 hundredth of a second behind the first place finishers from Poland. The U.S. paddlers thought they had won Gold for almost an hour after the event, only to find out that a Polish penalty was overturned, vaulting them from 3rd to 1st place.
In the men’s team C-1 event, Lefevre, Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.), and Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.) finished 5th with a time of 123.72, including 3 gate touch penalties. They finished +8.88 seconds behind the event’s first place finisher.
Lefevre turned in the best individual performance of the day, placing 7th in the men’s K-1 final and 15th in the C-1 semifinal. In kayak, Lefevre missed a gate in the final to finish in 148.23. He was otherwise fast, turning in the top time before penalties. The two-time Olympic medalist for France qualified for the final after placing 7th in the heats and 2nd in the semifinal.
Also competing in men’s K-1, Powell and Smolen finished 24th and 39th in the semifinal, respectively. Powell turned in a penalty-free time of 103.15, which was +6.02 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher and 3 seconds outside of a spot in the Final. Smolen, who ranked 1st overall after heats, missed a gate en route to a semifinal run of 153.36.
In men’s C-1, Lefevre incurred 2 gate touch penalties en route to a semifinal run of 110.18, which was +7.99 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher. Eichfeld, who ranked 4th after heats, placed 17th in the semifinal with a time of 110.74. Lokken finished 19th with a time of 112.05, including 2 seconds worth of penalty time.
“My racing here in Bratislava has come to an end,” Eichfeld said via Facebook. “It has been a good weekend. I know that I can do better than I finished, but progress doesn't happen over night. I am excited to continue training because it means more time I get to spend in my boats!”
In women’s C-1, Micki Reeves (Denver, Colo.) missed 2 gates en route to a 20th place finish in the semifinal with a time of 284.56.
Nine of 10 U.S. boats advance Friday to the semifinal round. Leading the way are kayaker Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.) and canoeist Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.), who both rank among the top 5 in their respective classes through heats.
Smolen, 19, enters Saturday’s men’s K-1 semifinal ranked 1st after a penalty-free 2nd run time of 92.68. His time was 0.14 seconds faster than the second place finisher through heats – Boris Neveu of France, a 2009 World Championship silver medalist.
A week after ranking 1st through heats at World Cup No. 4, the two-time Olympian Eichfeld ranks 4th with a penalty-free 1st run time of 99.20, which was +2.27 seconds behind the first place finisher on the day.
Also competing in men’s C-1, Fabien Lefevre (Bethesda, Md.) and Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.) both qualified for Saturday’s semifinal with 12th and 15th place rankings through heats, respectively. Lefevre’s penalty-free 2nd run time of 101.51 was +4.58 seconds behind the first place finisher through heats. Lokken turned in a penalty-free 2nd run time of 102.58.
Also competing in men’s K-1, Lefevre and Richard Powell (Parkesburg, Penn.) both advanced with 7th and 22nd place rankings through heats, respectively. Lefevre, a two-time Olympic medalist for France, turned in a penalty-free 1st run of 94.50, which was +1.82 seconds behind Smolen’s pace-setting time. Powell finished in 96.57 with no penalties.
“Good day for U.S. Team during the Bratislava World Cup heats,” Lefevre said via Facebook. “[I finished] 7th in the K1 and 12th in C1. Let's start the serious workout tomorrow in semis! Special congrats to my teammate Michal Smolen who took the lead after his second run in K1.”
In women’s C-1, Micki Reeves (Denver, Colo.) is well on her way to her first World Cup Final of the 2013 season. She heads into the Saturday’s semifinal ranked 10th after turning in a 2nd run time of 137.54, which included 3 gate touch penalties.
In women’s K-1, Dana Mann (Washington, D.C.) and Ashley Nee (Bethesda, Md.) advance to Sunday’s semifinal ranked 24th and 28th, respectively. Mann’s penalty-free 1st run time of 111.88 was +7.59 seconds behind the first place finisher through heats. Nee’s 1st run time of 112.87 included 2 seconds worth of penalty time.
Eichfeld and men’s C-2 partner Devin McEwan (Salisbury, Conn.) finished the day ranked 22nd, just outside of the Top 20 and a spot in the semifinal. Their 2nd run time of 119.38 was +16.18 seconds behind the first place finishers through heats and +2.66 seconds outside of the Top 20.
“Devin and I are feeling a bit disappointed right now,” Eichfeld said via Facebook. “Despite feeling that we are finally getting some traction together, we had a few time errors and touches through our second run that kept us from moving on. Oh well. We are a work in progress and I'm excited to see the progress! We shall paddle on!”
Fabien Lefevre (Bethesda, Md.) and Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.) will look to improve on their performances in men’s single canoe last weekend as the World Cup circuit comes to a close. Lefevre will attempt to improve upon his 4th place finish at World Cup No. 4 to win his second medal of the 2013 World Cup season and first career World Cup medal in C-1. Eichfeld hopes to put together a solid 3-day stretch of racing after leading all C-1 paddlers through heats in Tacen, Slovenia, only to fade to 27th place in the semifinal.
“[I] finished 4th in C-1 with a good run and an unpredictable spin on the top section - a little loss of time that probably costs me the podium,” Lefevre said via Facebook. “Anyway, I was happy to run my first final run in this class!”
Also competing in men’s C-1 is Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.), who will try to finish the World Cup on a high note after a Top 10 finish at the Under-23 World Championships.
Lefevre will also be competing in men’s kayak, where he won Bronze at World Cup No. 1. Kayaker Richard Powell (Parkesburg, Penn.) hopes to continue moving forward after posting his best result of the season with an 18th place finish last weekend. Both Powell and Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.) will be looking to qualify for their first final of the 2013 World Cup series.
In women’s kayak, Ashley Nee (Bethesda, Md.) qualified for her first World Cup semifinal of the 2013 season at World Cup No. 4. Dana Mann (Washington, D.C.) returns to action after skipping World Cup No. 4.
Women’s canoeist Micki Reeves (Denver, Colo.) placed 13th last weekend. The men’s C-2 duo of Eichfeld and Devin McEwan (Salisbury, Conn.) finished 14th in Tacen, their best performance since a 13th place finish at World Cup No. 1.
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.