US Garners Gold at the 2014 Oceania Championships

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The 2014 Oceania Championships, presented in Penrith, Australia brought home a victory for several U.S. competitors. Rising from 13th place on the 2013 World Cup Tour, Casey Eichfeld of Pennsylvania and Devin McEwan of Connecticut won Gold in the men’s double canoe. Eichfeld and McEwan qualified for the final thanks to a 6th place finish in the heats and a 5th place finish in the semifinal.

“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.”

In their medal-winning run, the team beat out boats from Slovakia, Germany, Australia and Japan. They ran a penalty free time of 104.50, a full 0.10 seconds ahead of the 2009 World Champions, Peter and Ladislav Skantar, the Slovakian cousins.

Other wins for the U.S. came from Michal Smolen of North Carolina who took 5th in men’s kayak, after a 4th place ranking after the heats and the semifinal. Coming in +4.25 seconds behind first place, Smolen turned in a final run time of 96.15. Rick Powell of Pennsylvania brought home 7th in the men’s kayak.

In a rare C-1 appearance, Smolen finished 12th place in men’s canoe, and placed third to win the Bronze medal among Under-23 paddlers. Also in men’s canoe, McEwan placed 20th, Eichfeld placed 24th and Zach Lokken of Colorado placed 26th.

In preparation for the Championships, which took place on February 21-23, some of the U.S. paddlers arrived a few weeks early to Australia to train in warm summer weather. The athletes will now return to the U.S. to prepare for the 2014 U.S. Team Trails at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C., March 28-30.

To learn more about the USA Canoe/Kayak team, visit www.teamusa.org.

Staff Posthttps://paddlinglife.com
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.

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