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Friday, 26 March 2010 20:12

Canada has solid footing–thanks to Askin and Officer

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By Elizabeth Huber
Swift Current
Coming off the ice on Thursday night, Team Canada was on a high.

The smiles skip Jennifer Jones tried to contain on the ice as three fans painted red flashed her the underside of their kilts in the nationally telecast game spread from ear to ear.

When asked what was the best part of the night, “being flashed on national television absolutely,” was Jones' candid response.

“It doesn't happen very often ... Actually, getting first doesn't happen for us very often in the round robin either,” she said.

Playing as a team and enjoying the crowd in Swift Current at the women's world championship, Team Canada played through the round robin with only one loss against them.

“The whole team, every last one is just amazing to play with,” said Jones. “We are all playing well as a team and everybody has stepped up and made some big shots when they had to.”

Looking to the front end of the team, Jones has curled with second, Jill Officer, for almost 20 years. Dawn Askin, lead, joined the Jones rink in 2007. Prior to moving to Manitoba, she played second for Ontario skip Jenn Hanna.

“We all have different jobs,” said Jones. “Jill and Dawn both sweep their butts off and are great judges ... Jill obviously can throw it hard and that is a huge weapon for us and something she has worked really hard at and we use often.”

Officer’s shots come down the ice with a lot of speed and at times Askin and third Cathy Overton-Clapham have a hard time keeping up with it.

Officer was ranked first amongst seconds in the round robin for both in-turn (84%) and out-turn shooting percentage (87%) and has been dubbed the best “peeler” in women's curling. She hit an impressive 89% of her out-turn takeouts during the course of the week.

“It has been made a joke to me a couple times. I know it is done in a respectful way because of the shots that I do make with the big weight,” said Officer, adding that she tries to stay on top of the skill because it is used by the team often.

“It is something I have pretty much always done,” she said.

When she changed her delivery from back swing to no back swing a few years back she needed to make adjustments to get the weight because there wasn't as much momentum.

“Other than that, it has been something that I have always had the ability to do. I have just tried to improve upon it,” she said.

Looking at her other teammates, Officer described Jones as having incredible drive and determination.

“You know she will make those pressure shots nine times out of ten and who better to curl with than someone who can do that?” she asked.

Overton-Clapham, third, is the “bubbly one, that keeps the team loose with funny comments.

“She is also a great shooter with a great touch for draw weight,” said Officer.

Askin, is the quieter one on the team with a tendency to simply do her job.

“She makes her shots all the time ... and is an awesome sweeper.” Askin also finished off the round robin ranked first amongst leads in overall shooting percentage for both her in-turn (83%) and out turn (87%) shots.

Her skill for draw weight is something Askin recognizes with in herself and is confident in her abilities.

“Before, I played second,” said Askin, referring to her curling career in Ontario. “You have draws, but not consistently like I do as a lead, so I have actually gotten a lot more confident and better at drawing.”

With Askin and Officer are consistent and never put their team in trouble which is something Overton-Clapham and Jones can smile about–flashers or no flashers.

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