GAINESVILLE, GEORGIA – Canadian paddlers cracked open a new competition season today as they went head-to-head at the first set of Canadian Sprint CanoeKayak Team Trials on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia.
Émilie Fournel (Lachine, QC), KC Fraser (Toronto), Hannah Vaughan (Dartmouth, NS) and Una Lounder (Dartmouth, NS) kicked off the trials by winning Women’s K4 500 and securing their spots on CanoeKayak Canada’s World Cup tour team. The crew was 2.6 seconds ahead of second place crew of Alexa Irvin (Kentville, NS), Andréanne Langlois (Trois-Rivières, QC), Jessica Leduc (Trois-Rivières, QC) and Sarah Végas-Dubois (Pointe-Claire, QC).
“This morning we were all excited to just get going and it’s been a really good training camp,” said Fournel of the last several weeks the team has spent training in Florida. “We put our effort into what we’ve worked so hard to do all year which is training hard, but also building a really good team atmosphere.”
CanoeKayak Canada’s High Performance committee officially named Fournel, Fraser, Vaughan and Lounder to the World Cup team heading to Europe in May after the crew achieved the necessary performance standard. Selections for many of the other events will not be made official until Monday.
Adam van Koeverden of Oakville, ON defended his title by winning the Men’s K1 1000. The four-time Olympic medalist has gone undefeated in the distance at Canadian team trials for well over a decade. Brady Reardon of Burlington, ON was second while Halifax’s Andrew Jessop was third.
van Koeverden says the tough head wind conditions were reminiscent of the 2012 Moscow World Cup where he won gold and the site where this year’s World Championships will take place in August.
“We’ve got to train and race in this stuff because it can come up at World Championships and World Cups,” said van Koeverden. “I have lots of racing coming up so I didn’t want to ease into. I think if I have a really good race at World Championships I can squeeze a medal in K1 1000 and I’d like to fight for a medal in K1 5000 as well.”
In Women’s C1 200, Taylor Potts of Toronto took the victory and overthrew the long-time winning streak of seven-time World Champion Laurence Vincent-Lapointe. Katie Vincent of Mississauga, ON was second and Vincent-Lapointe was third. Potts surprised herself with the win, but said with the level coming up across the board she knew it was an open race.
“We’re all training together and our time controls are all really similar so actually I had no idea what was going to happen today,” said Potts. “This is definitely something positive and obviously it’s motivating me to work harder for Toronto 2015. It’s good progress in a short spring camp so who knows what can happen in two seasons.”
Mark Oldershaw of Burlington, ON won in Men’s C1 1000. Paul Bryant of Richmond Hill, ON was second and Gabriel Beauchesne-Sévigny of Trois-Rivières, QC was third. Oldershaw who won an Olympic bronze medal in 2012 says he is hungry to get back to the podium at this year’s World Championships. With a good start to the season, and his motivation and path ahead clear in his mind, he’s ready to head overseas to take on the rest of the World.
“We’re heading to Europe for three more World Cups so hopefully that will get me into good racing shape. I want a medal, that’s why I’m still racing, still paddling for Canada is I want to win medals. I want to win races and as many of those as I can.”
In Men’s K2 200, Étienne Morneau of Québec, QC and Hugues Fournel of Lachine, QC took the win. Richard Dober Jr. of Trois-Rivières, QC and Ryan Cochrane of Windsor, NS, who represented Canada in the event at the last were Championships, were second. Austin Denman of Dartmouth, NS and Connor Taras of Waverley, NS were third.
“It’s just amazing,” said Morneau of the win. “We came here really confident. Training has been good for the past few weeks so we built our confidence. We were just focused on what we had to do and we executed the way we wanted to.”
Competition continues Saturday and Sunday with the full World Cup Tour Team to be announced on Monday.
CanoeKayak Canada is the national governing body for competitive paddling in Canada. The organization’s vision is to be a Canadian sport for families, communities and champions. From supporting clubs to developing a competitive National Team, CanoeKayak Canada works to grow a sport which is a rich part of Canada’s heritage.
Communications and Marketing Officer, CanoeKayak Canada