(Pictured: Fabien Lefevre in kayak)
New U.S. paddler Fabien Lefevre (Bethesda, Md.) won the Bronze medal in the Men’s Kayak (K-1) Saturday at the 2013 Slalom World Cup No. 1. The two-time Olympic medalist for France improved from 16th after heats and 5th after the semifinals with a penalty-free final run time of 89.14, which was 2.03 seconds behind the Gold medalist Fabien Doerfler of Germany.
WHAT: 2013 ICF Slalom World Cup No. 1
WHERE: Cardiff, UK
WHEN: June 21-13
WHO: U.S. Senior National Team
Click HERE for complete results.
In his first day of international competition as a member of the U.S. National Team, Lefevre also placed 14th in C-1 semifinal with a time of 98.90, +7.11 seconds behind the round’s first place finisher. Click HERE to see an interview with Lefevre.
Zach Lokken (Durango, Colo.) and the two-time Olympian Eichfeld finished 18th and 20th in the C-1 semifinal. Lokken finished in 101.51, including 1 gate-touch penalty. Eichfeld, who ranked 12th after the heats, accrued 6 penalty seconds en route to a time of 103.25.
Michal Smolen (Gastonia, N.C.) placed 14th in the K1 semifinal with a time of 91.56. The 19-year-old committed 1 gate-touch penalty, which was enough to knock him out of the Top 10 and the Final. Beijing Olympian Richard Powell (Parkesburg, Penn.) ranked 43rd after heats with a 2nd run time of 95.29, including 4 penalty seconds.
In men’s double canoe (C-2) Devin McEwan (Salisbury, Conn.) and two-time Olympian Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.) finished 13th with a semifinal time of 110.86, including 4 seconds of penalty time. They missed qualifying for the final by +1.99 seconds.
Ashley Nee (Bethesda, Md.) placed 36th in women’s kayak (K-1) with a 2nd heat time of 111.85, including 4 penalty seconds.
The U.S. participating in the men's kayak and canoe team races, finishing last in both. The K-1 team missed one gate, while the C-1 team missed three.
The U.S. athletes head to World Cup No. 2 next weekend in Augsburg, Germany, where they will be joined by U.S. kayaker Dana Mann (Washington, D.C.), and canoeists Colleen Hickey (Okawville, Ill.) and Micki Reeves (Denver, Colo.).
Fabien Lefevre, Men’s Kayak: "I wasn't in a good shape - Igot a sinus infection since last week - so I really enjoy this performance as my first World Cup for the USA! To transform hard training hours into a medal is always a great satisfaction but sharing it with my family, teammates and sponsors is what I prefer the most! That's a good start and a first step in my international season. … It seems that most of the Europeans are in a good shape as they had the Euro Champs 10 days ago. About C1, I am a little disappointed with my semi-final because I got the time to reach the final but a penalty doesn't allow me to race this morning. Tomorrow, that will be my first time also for the team races in K1 and C1 so let's check how we are able to paddle together!"
Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO: “From the standpoint of the program, it’s fantastic to have an Fabien representing the United States and winning a medal in his first World Cup with his new team. It sets a reachable standard for his young teammates too that reinforces a positive path forward while increasing confidence for the program. On a personal level and having known Fabien for many years, I know today was a rewarding day for him and his family.”
Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.) and Ashley Nee (Bethesda, Md.) will be returning to Wales with mixed emotions. For the two-time Olympian Eichfeld, it marks a return to the course where he notched one of his best results.
“Last year, I really put a lot of pressure on and made my first finals at the Cardiff World Cup and that was what secured me in my Olympic spot,” Eichfeld said. “So I’d like to continue that, knocking on the door of the finalists. With a little luck and some good smart training, hopefully I can be knocking on the door of the top 3.”
Nee and teammate Caroline Queen headed into Cardiff last year in a dead heat for the lone Olympic slot in women’s slalom kayak. Queen finished 1.06 seconds before Nee to book her ticket to London.
“I have a big goal of going back to Cardiff, where the Olympic selection was last year and getting a top 20,” Nee said. “I didn’t get it last time, so I’ve been thinking about it for a year. A little bit of redemption would be nice. Otherwise, I’m just trying to see a little bit of improvement in performance.”
The following athletes will be competing:
Women’s Kayak: Ashley Nee
Men’s Double Canoe (C2): Eichfeld/Devin McEwan (Salisbury, Conn.)
U.S. National Team Kayaker Dana Mann (Washington, D.C.) will not race this weekend and is already in Augsburg, Germany, site of World Cup No. 2.
Fabien Lefevre, a two-time Olympic medalist for France, finished the 2013 U.S. Slalom Team Trials first in Men’s Kayak and second in Single Canoe. He battled with Michal Smolen, 19, for the top spot among kayaks.
Fabien Lefevre, Men’s Canoe and Kayak: "I am very happy to be part of and represent USA C/K for this season. It's such a big but great transition in my career. I don't really know what to expect from these races. I would say that I will check out how the winter training allows me to be competitive in both classes, K1 and C1. That will be my first season in C1 and every race is a new challenge! … My goals for these races are much more to learn and improve my racing level in order to be ready for the World Champs in Prague in mid-September.”
Michal Smolen, Men’s Kayak: "It's hard to describe my feelings towards the World Cup happening this weekend in Cardiff. We work very hard during the off-season to prepare ourselves for these important competitions and when the time comes to actually race, everything changes. Now, the focus shits from preparation to performance. This weekend will determine not only how hard I've worked during the last couple of months, but also how well I can apply all that work. I really hope to come out of this season with some good results but my main goal, as of right now, is on getting my head straight and just trying to race my best.”
Rick Powell, Men’s Kayak: “This is my first World Cup as a senior team member. I have had the chance of racing in races of this caliber before, but never in K-1. I am ready to prove myself on the water tomorrow and throughout the rest of the season. There are five World Cups this summer as well as Worlds - all great opportunities to gain some experience. My goals this summer would be to make all the semi-finals as well as a few finals. I am confident that I can achieve this, as long as continue to paddle the way I have been in training. I want to wish the rest of the competitors good luck in the races. It should be a fun racing season.”
Casey Eichfeld, Men’s Single and Double Canoe: “The summer season is upon us and with that comes the extended World Cup series. I am excited that we will have more World Cups through the summer, meaning more racing for us! I hope to continue on the track of the past few years. I've steadily performed better each year and I am looking to progress even more.”
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.