Lefevre Finishes 6th in K1M Final
LA SEU D'URGELL, SPAIN - Dark, ominous clouds loomed once again as the C1 Men, C1 Women, and K1 Men took to the water for today's semifinal/final races at the 2014 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 4. In contrast to the relatively simple gate configuration set for Friday's heats, the course designers chose to really challenge the athletes in the semifinal/final with some more difficult gate combinations and placements. Even with the difficult course, the competition remained tight as the gap between first and tenth in both the C1M and K1M classes was a mere 2.5 seconds.
For the K1 Men representing Team USA, today's gate configuration seemed to suit their style as all three kayaks finished in the top-20 for the first time this season. Using his vast knowledge of the Seu whitewater course, two-time Olympic Medalist Fabien Lefevre (Bethesda, MD) was able to make his first final of the 2014 season with a 5th place finish in the semifinal race. Though he was able to put together a faster run in the final, Lefevre was unable to move up in the standings, finishing 6th overall. U23 World Champion Michal Smolen (Gastonia, NC) had another solid showing as he finished 12th overall. After some terrific paddling in yesterday's qualifications, Richard Powell (Gastonia, NC) went on to have his best result of the 2014 season with a 15th place finish.
In the C1 Men's category, Fabien Lefevre continued his good paddling on the day as he once again had the top American result with a 13th place finish. Meanwhile, Casey Eichfeld (Charlotte, NC) was on pace to make the top-ten and qualify for the final, but a two-second penalty on the last gate left him on the outside looking in as he went on to finish 15th overall.
Micki Reeves (Grand Junction, CO) put together a solid race in the C1 Women's category, but was unable to make it past the semifinal round, finishing 16th.
For Team USA, Sunday's semifinal/final competition K1 Woman Dana Mann (Washington, DC) and the C2 Men's team of Devin McEwan (Salisbury, CT)/Casey Eichfeld.
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"The semi-final/final course is designed in such a way to showcase both the talent of the athletes and the dynamism of the water here in Seu. It is very tricky yet quite straightforward, which should make for some extremely close and exciting racing." -Scott Parsons (National Team Coach)
"I am satisfied with my results today as they are close to the goals that I fixed in accordance with my training plans. I know Seu pretty well in K1 and it probably explains my result today in that class. The final was stacked with many experienced paddlers, which is also surprising because the gate poles were set high and, as a result, the course design easier than expected. It is also great to see how U.S. Team athletes are able to reach final with more frequency, which is especially encouraging for the upcoming World Championships in Deep Creek. Thanks for all the support I received." -Fabien Lefevre