|What the athletes are saying...
2012 ICF Junior & U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships
Athletes and coaches on their impression of the Wausau Whitewater course on the racing, their performance and expectations at the World Championships in Wausau, Wisconsin (USA).
Caroline Queen, Women's Kayak
I'm happy to have made the final and gained some good experience, the mistake on the run came as a result of taking a risk to be faster. That's racing.
Richard Powell, Men's Kayak
I had a faster run but I didn't feel as good. I don't know what the difference was. I think the gates were a bit higher but I still paddled well, so I think that's what clinched it for me.
Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO
Rick's medal today is not only a story of perseverance, but also a testament to his training group's willingness to thoroughly prepare for international competition. Today was a very good day for the program.
Michal Smolen, Men's K1
I think I've finally gotten my head straight this summer, the first couple races didn't go too well, like the World Cup and my selections. But now I think there's a little home course advantage along with some focus. I stopped thinking too much about what was going to happen during the race and just tried to think about what I need to do and do the moves the best I can. I'm feeling very confident ahead of the finals but I'm also trying to not think about too many things. [I'm] just staying positive and figuring out exactly what I need to do in order to bump up my place in the finals.
Richard Powell, Men's K1
It was a good day on the course today. I liked all the moves and I think I pulled them off okay. I feel like I'm not set up for the long sprints this course has to offer. The course I train on is in Charlotte, I moved there four years ago. I like the tight sprints the Charlotte course has to offer a little more. I was hoping to get top 10 finish.
Caroline Queen, Women's K1
I'm excited to represent the U.S. in the final while racing here in Wausau.
Casey Eichfeld, Men's C1
It is always hard to end a race with results below that of which you wanted. Unfortunately, I had a small loop at the end of my semis run and cost me the finals. That being said, our athletes have been competing with a lot of strength and determination. Now I will be cheering them on and helping them to do the best they can.
Men’s K1 U23 Semi-Final
Richard Powell (USA), finished 4th in SF
It was a good day on the course today. I liked all the moves and I think I pulled them off okay. I feel like I’m not set up for the long sprints this course has to offer.
The course I train on is in Charlotte, I moved there 4 years ago. I like the tight sprints the Charlotte course has to offer a little more. I was hoping to get top 10 finish, we’ll see if my run was good enough, it’s hard to tell.
Maarten Hermans (NED), squeezed into the final with a 9th place finish in the SF
The course is very long and it’s a hard.
I think gates 10, 11, 12 are the difficult gates because I’m not a really good whitewater kayaker; I’m a better flat water kayaker. Holland’s only got flat water. This year we trained in Augsburg, Germany to get more whitewater practice.
Lukas Mayr (ITA), finished 6th in the SF
I like this course better than the qualification course because it’s a bit more technical. The river is very hard to race because the water is slow in some parts of the course.
The gates this morning are in the right place.
So I think it’s a great competition and everyone is happy to be here.
I like that here (Wausau) in America, and that you speak English, and that everything is so big. In Europe everything is so small, it seems smaller than here. Like we’re the hobbits and you’re the giants.
I like it here. It’s my first time in the States. We just see the Hollywood films and we see the friendly people and restaurants and it’s like what we see on the films. It’s the first time for the whole Italian team and everyone likes it.
Pedro Da Silva (BRA) finished in 20th position
Not good, not my day. It’s very high… Qualification was very good for me. The feeling of the water was better.
Giovanni de Gennaro (ITA), took the last qualifying spot and finished in 10th place
I had a big mistake at gate 10 but luckily I didn’t lose much time and I hope to finish in the top 10 and tomorrow will be better. It’s great to be in the final.
Michal Smolen (USA), was 1st in qualifying heats and finished 2nd in the SF
I think I’ve finally gotten my head straight this summer, the first couple races didn’t go too well, like the World Cup and my selections, but now I think there’s a little home course advantage along with some focus. I stopped thinking too much about what was going to happen during the race and just tried to think about what I need to do and do the moves the best I can.
I’m feeling very confident ahead of the finals but I’m also trying to not think about too many things, just staying positive and figuring out exactly what I need to do in order to bump up my place in the finals.
Jiri Prskavec (CZE), finished a very happy 5th place in the SF
I was very happy because I saw that the poles are very high and after my touch on gate 18, I was like that’s going to be very close, so when I finished and was fourth (fifth) I thought it was very good. And my friend (Ondrej Tunka) has won the semi finals!
Ondrej Tunka (CZE), had the winning time in the SF
I don’t think I’m happiest on the course but I’m happy. It’s a good run, not the best I’ve had, but it was clean . I have to save my power for the bottom of the course because I was really tired. It’s a very long course.
We have a good coach.
Joe Jacobi, USA Canoe/Kayak CEO
Michal [Smolen] and Zach [Lokken] have infused a lot of energy and excitement into the team and the event itself by winning their respective qualification rounds. But there's much more racing and a lot more work to be done. We're looking forward to a big weekend in Wausau.
Aaron Mann, U.S. Assistant Coach
Wausau is a demanding course both from a mental and physical perspective. Unlike most of the major international races this season, the course designers chose to set a course which most classes would have times well over one hundred seconds. This seemed to be an issue for some of our athletes through their first runs, but happily most were able to adapt quickly and advance on to the semi-finals. That said, the semi-finals/finals course should be faster and will provide the athletes with a new series of challenges. Overall, I am encouraged and am looking forward to helping our team make it through another day of racing.
Casey Eichfeld, U.S. Men's Canoe
The U23 World Championships are going to be really exciting! It is great to see so many athletes and nations here in the United States for once. This race also is going to be great in helping me prepare for the upcoming Olympics as well as my general experience."
Kota Fujino (JPN)
The race is very tough as the length of the course is very long.
I really like Wausau, it’s my first time here and… in the US!
Simon Ranagan (USA)
It’s surprisingly difficult. It looks very easy to the racers but once you are on the water it’s very hard to compete well.
It’s a lot of fun having everyone around you supporting you cheering you on; it just feels good knowing you have the crowd’s support.
Joseph Croft (AUS)
It’s a good course, a bit tricky in some spots. I made one bad mistake where I missed a gate, I must have had a brain freeze and came in too high!
Everyone’s really nice here, everyone is looking after us, showing us around and they have made it very easy for us. I was hoping to make the semis with only one run but now I have to go in for my second run.
Joe Morley (GBR)
It’s pretty physical; the times here are over 100 seconds which makes it pretty long. There are a couple of areas where you have to come in really tight. You have to use your stopper to pop into the eddy.
Gates 16 and 17 are challenging around the rock, the double up, it’s just difficult to get a good line and it puts a lot of pressure on your upper body.
Thomas Brady (GBR)
The course is very physical at the bottom half. I think the top half is quite easy to paddle, at the bottom half of the course your arms get tired especially into the finish where you have to pull very hard.
The run in from gate 11 into the upstream 12 you have to be careful with your bow under the gate of 11. Overall I would say it was solid performance; there is a lot more to come for the semi-final.
Benjamin Hayward (CAN)
It looks pretty good there are some interesting moves where you have to go around the rocks. That 17 combination is a little tricky everybody wants to run it around but it works with a head dock and it takes half a second if you do that properly.
The course is pretty tiring, the water is not moving very fast here compared to the other European courses where we raced on, and it’s long. My time is 108 but we are usually down at 90 seconds.
Martin Halcin (SVK)
The course is very hard and we must paddle with strong strokes. Competing at the U23 World Championships is not easier that competing at senior competitions because there are paddlers here from Italy and other countries that are very good, so it doesn’t make it any easier, the level is very good.
Alexandra McGee (CAN)
I think it has some good moves; it has some tricky areas particularly gates 9 and 10.
The water is very slow so you need to have a lot of power.
I feel confident today, it was only qualifiers and I qualified, hopefully I make the finals tomorrow because that’s when the real work starts.
I have been doing C1 since the end of 2009 and I just started in Canoe unlike the other girls who started in Kayak, I am one of the few who only ever races in the Canoe category.
I love canoe I find it is more fun, more challenging and I love the position. Just having one blade also makes it less confusing. I have tried kayaking a few times but it’s not my thing.
I really admire Tony Estanguet’s style because I think he is a very technical paddler. I don’t have a lot of muscles so I have to use the water as much as I can to my advantage and I like the way he uses the water; he has a good technique and I admire that.
Olympic bound athletes:
Casey Eichfeld (USA)
It’s nice for us to come back to natural course now and then and get back to our roots. I am thinking about keeping my bow down keeping the boat moving and I have tunnel vision, it’s all about the water and me.
Caroline Queen (USA)
It’s pretty awesone, the selection process was 9-10 months so it took a while but now I can focus my energy on the Olympic Games.
Jessica Fox (AUS)
I really enjoy paddling natural rivers they are usually very fast, however, this course is slower than I expected. It’s shallow and rocky and when you paddle it is very tricky getting around the boulders and rocks.
I look forward to defending my title and it’s nice to be around people my age!