Speed Skaters clock season best times at Calgary World Cup
4 December 2017
SPEED SKATING: Aussie speedsters Daniel Greig and Josh Capponi have recorded some of their best results to date this season at the Calgary Speed Skating World Cup over the weekend.
After heading to the start line under an illness cloud, Greig turned around his performance from last weekend’s Stavanger World Cup to place 19th in the 1000m Division B event and 12th in the 500m B Division.
Greig’s coach Desley Hill said the Sochi 2014 Olympian has bounced back from his slow start to the season and is putting down strong results.
“Dan did his best races in four years and came very close to national records in both the 500m and 1000m,” Hill said.
The 26-year-old was 1.75 seconds off the pace in the Division B 1000m, which Dutchman Hein Otterspeer won in a time of 1:07.14. His 500m time of 34.84 was half a second behind the Division B winner Paul Kulizhnikov from Russia.
Greig’s Aussie teammate and housemate Josh Capponi placed 31st in the 5000m Division B event with a new personal best time of 6:36.81, before finishing 17th in a time of 8:15.16 in the Mass Start semi-final against a “super high level” of competition.
Everything clicked for Capponi in Calgary, and the 22-year-old was stoked with his performance.
“In the week building up to the World Cup I felt like I was skating the best I have in the last 6 weeks,” Capponi said.
“On Thursday it felt like technically everything was coming together and it was probably the best I have ever skated so I went in to the 5000m with confidence.
“Overall I'm happy to be in the 6.30s. The goal for me this season is to go under 6.30 (the Olympic qualifying time) so hopefully I can sneak under in Salt Lake. Even if I get this time I still won't be in the top 24 skaters so unfortunately I won't be able to qualify for the 5km with that time but I'll be satisfied if I can crack the time.
“In 2013 the qualifying time was 6.33 so I'm happy to be so close to that. The general level of everyone has increased a lot in the last four years.”
Hill was pleased with Capponi’s performance, but also made note of how high the standard is this season.
“Josh got his personal record in the 5k but the competition is insanely high,” Hill said.
“Before Olympics in the past, 18 men went under 6:20 [in the 5000m] and you needed 6:27 to qualify for the Games. Now 32 men are under 6:20 and you need 6:15!
“So Josh has to keep working on it.”
The world’s best speed skaters are really turning up the heat, with Russia’s Denis Yuskov recording the second fastest 1500m time in history in Calgary, 0.29 seconds off America’s Shani Davis’s 2009 World Record.
Greig and Capponi will look to bring their best at the fourth and final World Cup in Salt Lake City next weekend.
Full results from the Calgary Speed Skating World Cup are avaiable HERE.