After finishing second overall in the 500m and fourth in the 1000m at the Fall World Cup Trials last October, William Dutton, who is currently in his second year as a senior, qualified for the Canadian World Cup team for the very first time in his career. Starting in Heerenveen and Berlin in November, and then heading out to Asia in December, he claimed a silver medal in the B group in Berlin, and eventually ended up skating several of his races in the A division. With his first World Cup experiences under his belt and the Canadian Single Distances Championships just around the corner, Dutton reflects on the past two months and looks forward to the Winter part of the season.
By Jolanda Abbes
How do you look back in general on your first World Cup experiences?
“I was really happy with my results, some races were better than others but being my first World Cups I'm taking everything in stride and making sure to look forward. It was really a great experience, and I had a lot of fun with a lot of great people.”
What would you consider to be the highlight and greatest disappointment of these Fall World Cups?
“I think the highlight for me at the Fall World Cups would be skating in A group for 3 out of 4 world cups in the 500m. If I skated A group, people back home got to watch me and also they got to see my eyebrow trick on the intro video, haha. Also getting on the podium in B group was a fun experience. It was a confidence booster for sure and I got some delicious gummy bears which I ate the same night. The biggest disappointment of my World Cup tour was how I was skating my 1000m distances. I had a really good 1000m in Heerenveen and after that when I skated I was really tense and inefficient, which led to some pretty disappointing times. I know I could have skated better, so that's something I will be working on building up to World Cup Trials in January and potentially the next set of World Cup races.”
What would you consider to be the most important thing you’ve learned from these Fall World Cups?
“I think one of the most important things is that making the team is only half the battle. I have to continue to stay mentally strong and keep striving to improve while I'm racing on the World Cup circuit. I think I took a bit of a break mentally once I had finished competing in Heerenveen, which led to less than desirable results later.”
Can you share a good story on your first World Cup experiences?
“There were a couple of funny moments during our travels, but there is one that makes me laugh when I think about it. When we first arrived in Heerenveen we all went for dinner, so on the way down Vincent Labrie told Gilmore Junio that he needed his accreditation before he could eat. So as the rest of us were eating, Gilmore spent probably 15 minutes running around the hotel trying to get his accreditation. It was pretty funny when he walked in and asked me where I got my accreditation and everyone just burst out laughing.”
How do you compare these senior World Cups to when you were still a junior?
“I hadn't done as well as I felt I was capable of at World Juniors and the World Sprint Championships in Obihiro. So I felt like I proved to myself this year that I did actually belong at the World Cup stage. As my coach Bart Schouten said, skating in A group in the 500m is an impressive achievement and not to get down on myself for my races that didn't go exactly as planned. Which reminded me of what my other coach Mike Crowe told me: ‘You are not gonna go out there and conquer the world. Just make sure you learn from each race.’ So all in all I think I would mark this as a big improvement because even though I didn't do as well as I expected, I still feel really positive about everything.”
What would you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?
“The highlight of my career so far is finishing my second 500m at the Canadian Fall World Cup Trials and seeing my name in second place. Knowing that I sealed the deal and had earned my ticket around the world was a pretty good feeling.”
Who do you consider to be your example(s) in speed skating?
“An obvious choice is Jeremy Wotherspoon. I don't know any young Canadian speed skater who doesn't look up to Jeremy. However, when I was younger I often looked to the Makowsky brothers as inspiration, as well as a couple of hometown skaters Nathan Bernhard and Addison Thiel. The Makowsky brothers were always winning the competitions I was at and setting records. So of course I wanted to skate like them and train like them. It seems pretty funny now but I used to hear ‘tales’ of their training, such as their 200 km bike rides or other equally outrageous things and it would inspire me to go out for a 15 km bike ride, haha. Nathan and Addison were usually my biggest competition and so really they just pushed me because I always wanted to beat them. So, I would say the biggest part of my success comes from the Humboldt speed skating club and competing against my friends.”
How do you look forward to the rest of the season and to the Canadian Single Distances Championships in particular?
“I am really looking forward to racing at the Canadian Single Distances Championships. I know if I let myself relax and skate to the best of my ability, I will do well. A big focus for these trials is qualifying for the World Sprint Championships. That will be no easy task as there are only 2 open spots and a lot of us are very close in times. Another one of my goals will be trying to dethrone my teammate Jamie Gregg, I've been second far too many times, haha. Looking forward however a big goal of mine is competing at the World Single Distances Championships, so basically I have a lot of things to work towards to, I'm just gonna take it slow.”
The Canadian Single Distances Championships will take place in Calgary, January 6-9. For more up-to-date information on William Dutton, make sure to check out http://www.williamduttoncanada.com/.
Photo credits: DESGphoto/Lars Hagen
For more up-to-date information on William Dutton, make sure to check out http://www.williamduttoncanada.com/.