This article was originally published on the Canoe Kayak Canada website.
Canoe slalom athletes made their first two of four runs today at Canadian National Team Trials at the Minden Wild Water Preserve. Athletes are vying for spots on National Teams that will compete at five World Cups, World Championships, the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games and Pan American Continental Championships. The athletes will count their best three of four rankings toward selection.
Cameron Smedley of Dunrobin, ON led the way in Men’s C1 by winning both runs without incurring any penalties for touching or missing a gate.
“Penalties were a big factor in my racing last year so to have two clean runs in trials this weekend already is pretty big in changing the dynamics of racing for me,” said Smedley. “Hopefully I can carry that through the season.”
Smedley also ranked top of the charts with partner Ben Hayward of Edmonton, AB in the Men’s C2. Hayward won the first run of the Men’s K1 while John Hastings of Aurora, ON won the second.
In Women’s C1, Haley Daniels of Calgary, AB won the first run and Lois Betteridge of Ottawa, ON won the second. Jessica Groeneveld of Innisfail, AB won the first run of the Women’s K1 and Jazmyne Denhollander of Chilliwack, BC won the second run.
With the excitement of the Pan American Games lingering in the air, Groeneveld says competing on the same course that will serve as the venue for the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games makes racing amongst the beauty of Minden Hills particularly special.
“It’s so much fun to paddle here that it’s hard to pick my race apart too much,” said Groeneveld. “The water’s fast, the waves are fun and it’s just so peaceful. I’m so excited for slalom to be in the Pan Ams. It’s super exciting for the whole sport in general and to be in Canada on top of that is just awesome.”
The top athlete in each discipline will represent Canada at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games as long as they achieve a performance standard. Up to three athletes will be selected per discipline for World Cups, World Championships and the Pan American Continental Championship.
Several athletes from the United States and Argentina are also racing this weekend but their results are not factored into Canadian selections. Athletes will race two runs on a new course on Sunday and teams will be named on Monday.