07Aug09 Fantastic Ladies Slalom Battle For Finals Places On Day 3 Of Waterski World Championships In Calgary

Whitney McClintock CAN, #1 in the Slalom Preliminary

As the weekend gets nearer and nearer, the battle for Finals places has become white hot. Nobody really cares about the dark skies above or the occasional shower here at the Predator Bay Waterski Club in Calgary. As we go to print, the Ladies Slalom Series 3, 2 and 1 have been completed. The Mens Tricks Series 3, 2 and 1 kicked off following the afternoon Official Opening Ceremony on the Rock Concert stage out on the lake. We expect those final scores to be released shortly.

Breanne Wagner CAN

Anais Amade FRA

Karina Nowlan AUS

Anybody who witnessed the remaining Ladies Slalom Series today will have shared in a rare experience. Almost any Skier could have come out on top. Only 5 Buoys actually separated the top 12 who move on to the Finals. It was a special thrill to watch. Much to the enjoyment of the Canada born spectators, the two outstanding scores were achieved by Canadians Whitney McClintock / 2 buoys on the 10.75m line and Breanne Wagner with 1 Buoy on the same line. At just 19 years of age, Whitney McClintock took both the World Cup Dubna Russia Stop Slalom title and PanAm Championships Jump title last year. Breanne Wagner was also very emotional on returning to the dock with her outstanding score. Next in line was Anais Amade FRA, winner of the Moomba Masters Slalom title in March in Melbourne Australia. She really deserves enormous praise. Here score of 4 Buoys on the 11.25m line was achieved in spite of a very painful dislocated shoulder bone. She tied with Regina Jaquess USA and Karina Nowlan AUS. What a line-up ! Regina Jaquess set a new Overall World Record this year and had a terrible day yesterday in Tricks. Her recovery powers are legendary. Karina Nowlan, the co-holder of the World Slalom Record, looks very strong this year and that will guarantee a superb Finals on Sunday at 12.15hrs. Colorado born Jill Knutson won the US Open National Slalom title way back in 2002 and showed that she is still at the top of her game by qualifying today for the Finals with a score of 3.5 Buoys on the 11.25m line.

Andy Mapple &
Kristi Overton USA

Frederick Halt, Nash
and Natalie Hamrick USA

Mariana Ramirez MEX

After that we had an enormous log jam with seven Skiers locked on a score of 3 Buoys on the 11.25m line ? and only six Finals places remaining. Some years ago, the Chief Judge could have declared that all seven would proceed. A subsequent rule change necessitated a time absorbing run-off for all seven. This rule may be revisited ! Leaving her young baby boy Nash with husband Frederic Halt SUI on the dock, Natalie Hamrick made it through. She was joined by Claire Lise Welter FRA, Rhoni Barton Bishoff USA, Hanna Edeback SWE and Karen Truelove USA. Sadly, Mexico?s Mariana Abelson Ramirex lost out on this run-off occasion.

That was all the good news. There were also some heart-breakers. The hugely talented reigning World Slalom Champion, Nicole Arthur GBR, missed out by just one buoy ? as did World Games Overall Champion Kate Adriaensen BEL, 26 times US National Champion April Coble Eller and legendary Kristi Overton Johnson who is not only the co-holder of the World Record but has over 80 Professional wins to her credit and is also a member of the Florida State Bar ! With the exceptional talent here in this World Championships, this promises to be a vintage Slalom Final.

The Official Opening Ceremony was introduced by Paul Melnuk, Chairman of the Calgary Organising Committee, and Kuno Ritschard, IWSF President.

Jimmy Siemers USA with grandparents Henry and Liz

Following the Opening Ceremony, as we approached late afternoon, it was time for Men?s Tricks. Again, there is drama in the dock area. World Record holder Nicolas LeForestier is injured and attempted to gain a Finals place against all odds. Sadly it was not to be. At this point, we have two scores on the board of over 11,000 points and another four over 10,000. Following a solid Slalom performance yesterday, the 27 year old Overall contender Jimmy Siemers USA is in the lead with 11,190 points ? just 80 points ahead of 20 year old Herman Beliakou BLR. Next in line are Aliaksei Zharnasek BLR and Canada?s Jaret Llewellyn with 10770 and 10700 points. This puts Siemers and Llewellyn much closer in Overall points. Yesterday?s great Slalom score of 3 Buoys on the 10.75m line gave Javier Julio ARG a great Overall start but his 12th place 9170 points in Tricks today will have eroded some Overall advantage. Nevertheless, at this point it looks like he has made it to the Tricks Finals. With 50 challengers, this is no mean feat. As expected, the standard is higher than ever and again, all eyes will be on Calgary for the Tricks Finals.

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