Eichfeld, McEwan win C2 Gold in Australia
(Eichfeld and McEwan accepting their Gold medal in C-2. Credit: Rob van Bommel of sportscene.tv)
Casey Eichfeld (Drums, Pa.) and Devin McEwan (Salisbury, Conn.) won Gold in men’s double canoe at the 2014 Oceania Championships in Penrith, Australia. It looks like the duo, who finished as high as 13th on the 2013 World Cup tour, may be starting to turn the corner.
“Today was a wonderful surprise,” Eichfeld said. “We had a decent qualifications day, but not anything spectacular. We had a similar semi-final run today. We reviewed and learned a lot from the first run and identified the time errors. I think that it was this knowledge and a few strong strokes that carried us on to the top of the podium! We are really happy with our result and it was great to compete with some very strong boats.”
: 2014 Oceania Championships
: February 21-23
: Penrith, Australia
Eichfeld and McEwan qualified for the final after ranking 6th in the heats and 5th in the semifinal. In the medal-winning run, the duo turned in a penalty-free time of 104.50, which was 0.10 seconds ahead of Slovakian cousins Peter and Ladislav Skantar – the 2009 World Champions. Eichfeld and McEwan also beat out boats from Germany, Australia, and Japan.
In men’s kayak, Michal Smolen
(Gastonia, N.C.) and Rick Powell
(Parkesburg, Penn.) finished 5th and 7th, respectively. Smolen, who ranked 4th after the heats and semifinal, turned in a final run time of 96.15, which was +4.25 seconds behind the race’s first place finisher.
In men’s canoe, Smolen finished 12th in a rare C-1 appearance. Among Under-23 paddlers, Smolen placed third to win the Bronze medal. McEwan, Eichfeld and Zach Lokken
(Durango, Colo.) placed 20th, 24th, and 26th, respectively. Eichfeld and Lokken ranked 10th and 12th, respectively, after the heats.
Some of the U.S. paddlers arrived in Australia a few weeks early to train in warm summer weather of the southern hemisphere. The athletes will now return to the United States, where they will prepare for the 2014 U.S. Team Trials at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C., March 28-30.
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.