Groeneveld gets gold at Pan-Am championships

Jessica Groeneveld of Innisfail captured gold in women’s K1 to lead the Canadian team to the most overall points at the 2013 Pan American canoe slalom championships in Union de Tula, Mexico on Sunday.

OTTAWA, ON – Jessica Groeneveld of Innisfail captured gold in women’s K1 to lead the Canadian team to the most overall points at the 2013 Pan American canoe slalom championships in Union de Tula, Mexico on Sunday.

Groeneveld won the women’s K1 event by a margin of over two seconds. Brazil’s Ana Satila, who won the event last year to clench a quota spot for the London 2012 Olympic Games, took silver.

A slew of Canadian paddlers followed the women’s K1 rankings. Jazmyne Denhollander of Chilliwack, BC had the third fastest time but the bronze went to Argentina as only one competitor per nation is eligible to medal. Florence Maheu of Valleyfield, QC had the fourth fastest time and Thea Froehlich of Ottawa had the fifth. Calgary’s Haley Daniels finished in eighth position and Ottawa’s Kathleen Tayler got bumped was disqualified in the semifinals for an error in boat weight.

Three entries per country are permitted to contend at the Pan American championships so only Groeneveld, Denhollander and Froehlich’s results counted as official while the others raced for international ranking.

The good news did not stop with Groeneveld winning gold. She doubled up in events to also take silver in women’s C1. Daniels scored the third fastest time while Tayler finished in fifth. The inclusion of women’s C1 in the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games and the potential for the event to make its debut on the Olympic program has lead several kayak athletes to give the single-bladed event more attention.

The team will head back to Canada to prepare for National team trials in Minden, ON on May 25-26 before returning to international competition. Results from the trials will determine Canada’s team for the 2013 World Cup Tour and World Championships.

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