News and background stories

William Dutton confidently looking forward to second half season

His first season on the World Cup circuit did not end well for William Dutton, when he cut his achilles last March. But despite this setback, he was able to get some good summer training under his belt, and with the Fall World Cups of this season down, he can look back on some solid races. Two podium finishes in the B group 500m at the second Fall World Cup in Astana got him promoted to the A group in Heerenveen, where he raced his best 500m of the season thus far. On top of that, he competed in a demo event in Heerenveen, the Team Sprint, in which Canada was represented by two men’s teams and finished 3rd and 4th. With the Canadian Single Distances Championships just around the corner, Dutton reflects on his World Cup races and the Team Sprint, and looks forward to the rest of the season.

By Jolanda Abbes

This is your second season on the World Cup circuit, how do you compare this season to last season so far?
“So far I feel more involved in the experience; last year I got caught up in all of the excitement. However, I learned from my mistakes and feel like I competed well so far. I had a few minor glitches in Russia where I didn’t skate great in the first race and got disqualified in the second. I just had to put those races behind me and put my focus into what would help me accomplish my goals. I think this year is showing a lot of promise, especially coming off my injury when I cut my achilles in March.”

How do you look back on your races at the Fall World Cups, and what would you consider to be your best race?
“I felt that my best race was my second race in Heerenveen, where I skated a 35.40 and placed 13th. I had really hoped to skate my way into a top 10 finish in that race but I was still pleased with the progress I had made throughout the season. I was a bit disappointed with the way I had been skating earlier in the season with my best time so far being a 35.36 in Calgary. So being able to match that time in Heerenveen was to me a victory in itself. The race was an interesting one; I was feeling a bit sick and I did not think I was skating great. I kicked myself a few times on warm-up ice and was getting frustrated. So before the race I just found a quiet place to stretch and regain my focus and just told myself to focus on my technique and not the outcome of the race. Once I got on the ice to race I had a different attitude and knew how I needed to skate. My first 100m was a tenth faster than the previous day with a 9.76 but I did not set up the first corner very well and had a few wobbles there. Other than that the race was pretty smooth sailing. I would like to have gone faster but I know the things I need to fix to compete at the top.”

How do you look back on the Team Sprint in Heerenveen?
“The Team Sprint was a lot of fun and placing 4th behind the other Canadian guys has made for a big team rivalry. It seems silly but you do need to have a good race plan for the Team Sprint. Once teams get more competitive I'm sure it will be won or lost by tenths. I don't want to give away our race plan but we have it down to a science and should we compete again, I would expect a podium worthy performance.”

Did you train specifically for the Team Sprint?
“We did not train for the Team Sprint, which I regret now after seeing that the winners received World Cup medals. But like I said, we have a real game plan worked out and I think I would like a taste of victory in round 2.”

How do you look forward to the Canadian Single Distances Championships, and the rest of the season? What will be your goals?
“I am just going to keep focusing on my skating and continue to try and improve my technique. I am hoping to compete in World Sprints in Calgary so all my family and friends will be able to come out and watch. World Single Distances Championships are also a big goal for me and of course to continue climbing up the ranks in World Cups. I think I can be competitive with the top-ranked guys and plan to just keep on moving forward. I have seen guys that I've beat or been close with make it to the top of the podium, guys like Jesper Hospes and even my training partners Jamie Gregg and Gilmore Junio have been close. So it’s something that I think I can accomplish and I think I am close.”

The Canadian Single Distances Championships will take place from January 5-8 in Calgary. At this competition spots can be earned for the Winter World Cups and World Sprints.

Photo credits:
Photo 1:
Erik Pasman
Photo 2: Denny Morrison (start Team Sprint Heerenveen: William Dutton, Kyle Parrott and Richard MacLennan)