Sizzling start to summer

June may bring with it the first day of summer, but Canada’s top summer athletes are way ahead of the game and already bringing home plenty of hardware. Here are some recent highlights:

Canadian boats cleaned up at the third and final ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup stop of the season in Poznan, Poland, winning a total of 13 medals (second only to the host nation), six of them in canoe-kayak events included on the most recent Olympic program in London.

Photo: CanoeKayak Canada / Balint Vekassy

Gabriel Beuachesne-Sevigny

Olympic bronze medallist Mark de Jonge earned the first World Cup gold medal of his career by winning his specialty, the K-1 200m. Four-time Olympic medallist Adam van Koeverden teamed with Brady Reardon for silver in the K-2 1000m as well as a bronze in the non-Olympic K-2 500m.

It was an especially bountiful weekend for the Beauchesne-Sévigny siblings, Gabriel and Geneviève. Gabriel teamed with Benjamin Russell to win gold in the men’s C-2 1000m. He also captured a pair of medals in two non-Olympic events; gold in the C-1 5000m and silver in the C-2 200m with Pierre-Luc Laliberte. Geneviève and KC Fraser won silver in the women’s K-2 500m and bronze in the non-Olympic K-2 200m. They also joined with Émilie Fournel and Una Lounder for bronze in the K-4 500m. The final medal in an Olympic event was the bronze in the men’s K-4 1000m by Étienne Beauchesne, Marshall Hughes, Sam Roworth and Phil Duchesneau.

Still ahead for these athletes is the second set of National Team Trials, which will take place in Welland, ON June 21-23. These trials will finalize the selections for the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisburg, Germany August 27-September 1.

Photo: The Canadian Press

Derek Drouin

Olympic bronze medallist Derek Drouin broke the Canadian high jump record to capture bronze at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, the fourth stop of the IAAF Diamond League. Drouin’s jump of 2.36m surpassed the previous national standard of 2.35m which was set initially by Mark Boswell at the 1999 IAAF World Championships. Boswell later matched it twice, but no Canadian has hit the mark outdoors since July 2002.

In March, Drouin won the 2013 NCAA Indoor title with a jump of 2.35m, also breaking a national record that Boswell had first set 13 years earlier, and out-jumping the 2.29m he leapt to win bronze at London 2012.

Immediately ahead for Drouin, a senior at Indiana University, is the outdoor NCAA Championships, also in Eugene.  He also has the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Moncton, NB June 20-23 where the team that will compete at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow August 10-18 will be selected.

Canadian swimmers collected 11 medals at the U.S. Grand Prix meet in Santa Clara, California. Among the highlights from London 2012 Olympians were a gold medal by Audrey Lacroix in the women’s 200m butterfly and a gold by Katerine Savard in the 100m butterfly, for which she had to beat reigning Olympic champion Dana Vollmer of the United States.

Photo: Mike Ridewood

Ryan Cochrane

Two-time Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane won a pair of bronze medals in the 400m and 800m freestyle events, while Alexa Komarnycky won silver in both of her 400m and 800m freestyle races.

The event served as a tune-up for the FINA World Championships, to be held in Barcelona, Spain July 19-August 4.

Canada played its first two games of the FIVB World League in Quebec City, winning one and losing one against the Netherlands. Canada (#18) is the top-ranked team in its pool for the Intercontinental Round while the Netherlands is ranked 36th. Coming up, Canada will play two matches against Portugal (#36) followed by two matches against South Korea (#24), all in Mississauga. The Canadians then travel to Tampere for two matches against Finland (#30) before heading to Osaka for two matches against Japan (#19).

The World League is a six-week 18-country tournament which offers the largest cash prizes in volleyball. The top team in Canada’s pool after the round robin portion will advance to the World League Finals in Argentina, July 17-21. Canada returned to the World League last year after having not competed in the tournament since 2007.