United States slalom paddler Scott Parsons (Sylvania, Ohio) was errorless in his first two qualifying runs of the men's single kayak to lead a field 91 on Wednesday and advance to the semifinals of the 2007 ICF Slalom World Championships in Foz do Iguau, Brazil.
Parsons joined Brett Heyl (Charlotte, N.C.) also in the men's single kayak and Benn Fraker (Peachtree City, Ga.) in the men's single canoe as the three U.S. paddlers on Wednesday to move-on to the semifinals of the world competition, which runs Sept. 19 – 23 on the Itaipu White Water Canal in southwestern Brazil.
Parsons, a 2004 Olympian and top-ranked U.S. paddler at 7th in the world, hit an errorless 89.66-second first run and finished with a combined two-run time of 183.53 seconds to lead the top 40 paddlers into the semifinal. He was the only paddler to break 90 seconds during the qualifying runs. The top qualifiers included Alexander Grimm of Germany, who trailed Parsons by 1.23 seconds for second, and Erik Pfannmoeller, also of Germany, 2.60 seconds behind the lead for third. Julien Billaut of France was fourth and Luca Costa of Italy finished fifth. 2006 World Champion Stefano Cipressi of Italy was 14th.
Heyl, a 2004 Olympian, also advanced with a 24th-place finish in the qualifying runs. After touching the 13th gate on his first run for a 96.73-second effort, Heyl ran an error-free 95.77 seconds in his second trip to advance with a combined time of 192.50 seconds. U.S. paddler James Wade (Boise, Idaho) was 74th overall and did not advance.
In the men's single canoe, U.S. paddler Benn Fraker (Peachtree City, Ga.) advanced to the semifinals with a 4th-place finish among the field of 61. U.S. paddlers Tad Dennis (Peachtree City, Ga.) and Jeff Larimer (Atlanta, Ga.) finished out of the top 40 and did not advance.
About Slalom Canoe/Kayak
In slalom canoe/kayak racing, paddlers navigate through pairs of poles called “gates” through a course of approximately 300-meters, set-up over challenging rapids, waves, eddies and currents. If the paddler touches one of the poles or misses a gate altogether, penalty times are added to the time achieved on the run.
The U.S. is entered in men's and women's single kayak and men's single and doubles canoe events. The 2007 ICF Slalom World Championships is the first of three qualifiers for U.S. athletes to earn points toward selection to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.
The 250-meter competition course is set within the 400-meter-long, 12-meter-wide Itaipu White Water Canal. The canal has a total drop of 8.20 meters and steady flow of 12 cubic meters per second.
Qualification races continue on Thursday, with team races on Friday. Semifinals and finals take place Saturday and Sunday.
Complete results are available at http://cbca.org.br/foz2007/english/index.php
About USA Canoe/Kayak
USA Canoe/Kayak is a non-profit membership organization promoting canoe and kayak racing in the United States. A member of the United States Olympic Committee, Charlotte, N.C. based USACK is the national governing body for the Olympic sports of Flatwater Sprint and Whitewater Slalom and official U.S. federation of the International Canoe Federation. Other paddling sports sanctioned by USACK include Marathon, Rodeo, Wildwater, Kayak Polo, Outrigger, and Dragon Boat. USA Canoe/Kayak's National Team Sponsor is Bank of America and its National Team Apparel Sponsor is NIKE. To learn more about USACK and its other sponsors and suppliers, visit http://www.USACK.org.