Paddlers chase National Team spots on day 2 of Welland Trials

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Saturday, June 22

WELLAND, ON – Racing continued for a second day at the Canadian Sprint CanoeKayak Team Trials taking place at the Welland International Flatwater Centre. Paddlers competed in Senior, Junior, Under 23 and Paracanoe events in an effort to win selection races and make performance standards to qualify for National Teams. Seniors and Paracanoe athletes are contending for spots at the 2013 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisburg, Germany from August 27 to September 1. Junior and Under 23 paddlers are contending for spots on the home team at the ICF Junior and Under 23 Canoe Sprint World Championships to be held in Welland, ON from August 1 to 4. Selections to the teams will be made official on Monday.

Pierre-Luc Poulin (photo: Bernard Irvin)

Laurence Vincent-Lapointe (photo: Bernard Irvin)

Adam van Koeverden & Brady Reardon (photo: Bernard Irvin)

Jason McCoombs (photo: Bernard Irvin)

Senior

Adam van Koeverden of Oakville, ON and Brady Reardon of Burlington, ON won the Men’s K2 1000 metre final with a time of 3:38.92. Andrew Jessop of Halifax, NS and Rob Clarke of Mississauga, ON were second while Keir Johnston and Neil Lang were third.

The win makes van Koeverden and Reardon the likely crew to race K2 1000 at World Championships.

Jason McCoombs of Dartmouth, NS secured his spot as the top ranked paddler in the C1 200 metre. McCoombs had one win from the last set of National Team Trials and another win today in a time of 43.147 seconds puts him in position to be selected to the World Championships team.

“That was a hard race. It took a lot of mental strength,” said McCoombs after his race.

McCoombs edged out Mark Oldershaw by 0.646 of a second to take the win. Oldershaw locked up the C1 1000 metre entry yesterday and took a shot at the pure 200 metre today. Cory Rublee of Kamloops, BC was third. McCoombs, who placed thirteenth at the London 2012 Olympic Games, plans to use the next couple of weeks to prepare for competition in Duisburg.

“I’m hoping to be in the final for sure and do well in the final. I think I had some good performances at World Cups and I’ll try to build on that. I’ve got a month of training to get in before then and I’ll hopefully have my best performance at Worlds.”

In the Men’s K2 200 metre, Ryan Cochrane of Windsor, NS and Richard Dober Jr. of Trois-Rivières, QC got their second of two wins needed to be the top crew considered for selection to the World Championships Team.

The race came down to another tight finish with Cochrane and Dober finishing in a time of 33.632 seconds. They edged out Hugues Fournel of Lachine, QC and Étienne Morneau of Quebec City by less than a quarter of a second.

“In a situation like that to get that little extra edge where we’re so close, it’s literally the last 25 metres that really counts for everything,” said Cochrane. “It’s where whoever has the guts and the heart and everything just to push through that pain.”

National Team Coach Frédéric Jobin made the decision to change the crews up after World Cups. Dober says making the change has been a challenge and is in the best interests of the team.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for of all of those three guys,” said Dober. “I think today whatever combination we would have chosen would have been a tight race and I think that’s what we need to bring the level up.”

Michelle Russell of Waverley, NS was determined not to let strong winds get the better of her and won the Women’s K1 200 metre.

“I just went for it,” said Russell “I live in Nova Scotia and I’m used to the wind.”

Russell is having a breakthrough year and made all four of her K1 finals on the World Cup Tour. She says today’s win is another encouraging result.

“You keep training all year and you never know how it’s going to end up,” Russell commented. “Actually comparing myself to the World’s best paddlers is a great feeling.”

Russell won in a time of 46.263 seconds. Émilie Fournel of Lachine, QC was second and Hannah Vaughan of Dartmouth, NS was third.

Étienne Beauchesne of Quebec City; Rob Clarke of Mississauga; Philippe Duchesneau of Sherbrooke, QC; and Steven Jorens of Aurora, ON won the Men’s K4 1000 metre with a time of 3:16.97. They raced against one other crew and chased a performance standard that will determine if they will be nominated to the World Championships team. Jorens says the potential for the crew to compete in Duisburg is really encouraging.

“I’m really excited because there’s three new guys who haven’t been to senior worlds before,” said Jorens, who has been able to share his race experience from two Olympic Games and many World Championships with the crew. “More and more I see them starting to take leadership roles as well in the boat which is important because everybody has to be all on the same page and going for the same goal.”

Several of the young crew members could end up racing at both the Under 23 World Championships and Senior World Championships. Three of them have already been on the World Cup podium in K4 this year. Jorens said the Canadian team is building its potential for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

“This is all part of the plan for the next four years to start out with a new crew and get everybody paddling K4. The idea is to make Canada one of the best in the world.”

Laurence Vincent-Lapointe of Trois-Rivières, QC took the top spot in the C1 200 metre. Vincent-Lapointe won in a time of 53.957 seconds. Taylor Potts of Toronto was second and Jenna Marks of Dartmouth, NS was third.

“I’m happy with myself and what I gave,” said Vincent-Lapoint who will likely be heading back to World Championships to defend her winning streak. “I know what I can give and I know I can do it at Worlds.”

Junior

Pierre-Luc Poulin of Quebec City was victorious in the Junior K1 200 metre. He won in a time of 39.798 seconds. Dartmouth’s Liam O’Brien was second and Marshall Hughes of Waverley, NS was third.

“I’ve been looking forward to that race for like two years and it was a big day,” Poulin commented after his win. He now has his sights set on the Junior World Championships which will take place on the same course at the start of August. It’s a course Poulin loves racing on and recent facility upgrades have amplified that sentiment.

“This course has been good to me and hopefully it will stay like that. The course looks so good and with all the people around it’s going to be awesome. Hopefully there will be more international races here.”

Madeleine Schmidt of Ottawa added a victory in the Junior K1 500 metre to her win yesterday in the K1 200. Schmidt won in a time of 2:11.64. Hayley Nelson of Waverley, NS placed second and Julia Morin of Lac-Beauport, QC finished third.

“I just knew what I had to do and I can’t control anything else,” said Schmidt who is eyeing a podium performance at the Junior World Championships in Welland. “Women’s kayak hasn’t made the podium for a few Junior Worlds now and I want to change that.”

Ryan Nash of Toronto and Liam O’Brien of Dartmouth won the Junior K2 1000 metre in a time of 3:52.87. Twin brothers Hunter Morrissey and Kingston Morrissey of Waverley, NS were second. Maxence Beauchesne and Duncan Sibthrope finished third.

“We went out hard off the start, held it and finished well,” O’Brien said while Nash added, “Our coach told us that we should follow the race plan and stick in there until the last 400, then empty the tank.”

Under 23

Lissa Bissonnette of Pointe-Claire, QC and Alexa Irvin of Kentville, NS won the Under 23 K2 500 metre. The pair has raced in K4 crews together for several years and recently started training K2.

“It was our first time racing together so we were really happy with how we executed our race plan,” said Irvin as Bissonnette added they were really focusing on getting of the line quickly.

Alanna Bray-Lougheed and Sammy Hall finished second while Andréanne Langlois, Jessica Leduc placed third in the U23 K2 500.

Andrew Jessop and Rob Clarke placed second in the Senior K2 1000 and are ranked as the top Under 23 K2 crew.

Paracanoe

Paracanoe athletes each raced two finals and were mainly racing to make performance standards in an effort to qualify for the ICF World Championships in Duisburg, Germany and the Lake Placid International Regatta. Paracanoe athletes are classified for events based on the mobility they have in their legs, trunk and arms (LTA, TA and A).

Pointe-Claire’s Christine Gauthier, a defending World Champion, was top in her K1 LTA 200 metre race with times of 1:00.51 and 1:01.53. Draga Culjak of Toronto was second with a best time of 1:11.60.

“I did the qualifying time and that’s the main purpose here today,” said Gauthier, who has recently been experimenting with new boats and training hard to improve her 200 metre time. “I really want to go lower than 55 seconds, minimum. I’m trying to focus to cut off those few seconds but I feel strong and confident.”

Dave Waters of Fox Point, NS posted 1:03.41 and 1:03.81 in the Men’s V1 200 metre TA category. The National Team athlete won bronze at the 2012 World Championships and is looking to contend with competition overseas again this year.

“I actually was happy with both my races today,” said Waters. “Obviously there’s a lot more work to be done. The times over in Europe have been really fast so I think we need to pick it up. I need to be able to do 56 seconds fairly consistently.”

Christian Maranda of Québec City won both the Open Men’s LTA K1 200 metre with times of 49.07 and 51.97 seconds. Jean Dagher of Ottawa was second and Phil Mailey of Carleton Place, ON was third in both races. Alexis Boyer was forth.

“The conditions were challenging but it’s definitely a good way to improve your skill and power,” said Maranda. As a veteran of the Royal 22e Régiment who was badly injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, the prospect of representing Canada at the World Championships has special meaning for Maranda who feels sport has been a key part of his recovery. “To get on the national team would be … I won’t say a dream come true because I’m alive and walking, so that’s something, but I really hope to make the team. I hope to make the standard and I’m looking forward to racing with the Canadian shirt on my back.”

Suleiman Muse of Toronto won the Open Men’s K1 A event and Kevin Priebe of Pitt Meadows was second.

“I’m very excited. If I made the team it would be another great experience to race for Canada and to try to get to the podium,” said Muse, who has been working hard with his coach Mary Ellery to improve his balance in the wind. “When you are paraplegic, the big problem is the balance … but I love challenges so it’s good.”

In the LTA category, Papito More-Wilson posted a best time 1:05.97 in the Men’s V1 200 metre class while Draga Culjak posted a best of 1:11.60 in the Women’s K1 200 metre. Troy Chown of Ottawa won both the Men’s K1 200 TA metre races. Corey Stewart of Pitt Meadows, BC was second and Edmonton’s Antonio Flores was third.

Competition will wrap up on Sunday afternoon and team announcements will be made on Monday.

Full Results

Photos – credit: Bernard Irvin

-30-

For more information:

Ian Miller

Communications and Marketing Officer, CanoeKayak Canada

613.314.1352

imiller@canoekayak.ca

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