Makowsky Takes Second in 1500m; Groves Second Overall

Canada’s speed skaters had a great Day 2 at the World All-Round Championships, in Heerenveen, the Netherlands. Lucas Makowsky (Regina, SK) took second place in the men’s 1500m event, boosting him to sixth place overall. Kristina Groves placed fourth in her two races of the day, and now sits in second place in the overall standings.

Makowsky made good on his promise yesterday to skate a fast 1500m event – he came in for second place today in a time of 1:46.15. The Olympic gold medallist in the men’s Team Pursuit was flanked by Americans in the race results, with Jonathan Kuck in first (1:45.36), and Trevor Marsicano in third place (1:46.70).

“It was definitely a good race, I wanted to have fun and skate like I was skating earlier in the season. I started well and after that I just worked hard and it really worked out for me,” Makowsky commented, up-beat.

In ninth place overall prior to the men’s 1500m race, Makowsky has moved up three spots in the standings to sixth, and has in mind a top-ten finish at these World All-Round Championships. “I wasn’t quite expecting to be this close to the top in the overall rankings,” he admitted. Makowsky’s classification in the top twelve means that he will be skating the 10 000m event on Sunday. “Going into it I know I can pull off a good 10 000m race. I haven’t done as many this year as in years past, but I’ll be drawing upon my experience to race it well.”

Still in the 1500m event, Mathieu Giroux (Pointe-aux-Trembles, QC) came in 11th in 1:48.09. Jeff Kitura (Langley, B.C.) skated to 15th place (1:49.66); and Justin Warsylewicz (Regina, SK) took 18th (1:50.37). In overall men’s classifications, Giroux is in 13th; Warsylewicz and Kitura are 19th and 21st, respectively.

Groves In Second Place Overall

In the women’s 500m event, Kristina Groves (Ottawa, ON) came in for fourth place in a time of 39.42; just 59 one-hundredths of a second from the winner, Russia’s Yekaterina Shikova (38.83). Second place went to another Russian, Yekaterina Lobysheva (39.15), and third was taken by the Czech Republic’s Karolina Erbanova (39.31).

“Both races were good, even though it was a real challenge to get that focus back, particularly after the Olympics. I do still feel like I’m having a lot of fun when I’m racing though,” she added. When asked about being a distance skater tackling a 500m event, she joked “It’s pretty funny seeing everybody have to do the 500m event; I myself had not done a lot of those this year. It went well though, I feel like right now I have a lot of speed,” she mused.

Other Canadian women on the ice in the 500m were Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg, MB) who tied for ninth (with the Netherland’s Elma de Vries) in a time of 40.17; Cindy Klassen (Winnipeg, MB) was 17th (40.63); Nicole Garrido (Edmonton, AB), came in 22nd (41.65).

All four Canadian women took to the ice for the 3000m event, where Groves took another fourth place in a time of 4:05.98 - the same distance where she earned a bronze medal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. “My 3000m race today was probably one of the best I’ve skated this season; I’m really pleased with the way it went today.” Groves’ results put her in second place in the overall classifications; tomorrow she will be skating the 1500m event, where she won a silver medal at the Winter Olympics. Her overall classification after the 1500m race will determine if she gets to start in the 5000m event, also Sunday.

Cindy Klassen posted a good result in the 3000m distance, with a tenth place finish in 4:11.42; Brittany Schussler was close behind in 12th (4:11.94); Nicole Garrido came 20th, stopping the clock at 4:15.51. In overall women’s rankings, Schussler is 12th, Klassen is 14th, and Garrido is 24th.

The 3000m event was won by the Czech Republic’s Martina Sablikova (4:03.59), second went to the Netherland’s Ireen Wust (4:05.10), in third was Germany’s Stephanie Beckert (4:05.63)

Some changes are coming to coaching staff, as Marcel Lacroix announced that this weekend will be his last as a coach. Lacroix is retiring to focus on other aspects of his life, in particular to be able to spending more time with his family.

The fourth and final men’s race will take place Sunday; the 10 000m event has only twelve skaters qualified to take the start, including Canada’s Makowsky. Sunday, the women will skate the 1500m and 5000m events.