St. Thomas Skating Club now offers seven synchronized teams including juvenile;
a team featuring skaters that have jumped from Rec level in a year
December 7, 2022
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - Energice is back on the ice, skating to be in synch.
The St. Thomas Skating Club's synchronized skating program, has grown from one adult team a dozen years ago, to seven teams with over 80 skaters this season.
New this year to the synchronized program are Adult 3 Edge, Star 3 and Star 4, joining Beginner, Juvenile and Adult 2.
Energice's juvenile team has a mix of skaters ranging from ages 10 to 15 years, coming to train from as far away as Langton, Port Rowan and Waterford.
Due to the pre-juvenile level no longer existing for Skate Ontario, a few of the skaters have moved from the Rec level, to pre-juvenile to juvenile within a year.
This past spring Energice placed fifth in pre-juvenile, at Skate Ontario's provincial championships.
Now the skaters are training at the first competitive level for Skate Canada.
Back in September, the juvenile skaters hit the ice for their first practice, described by coach Wendy Coombs, as synchro boot camp.
"Some of them have only done synchro for a year," Coombs said. "They have a real challenge in front of them, but they are really up for it."
The usual goal for teams is finishing top six within their section, to qualify for provincials, but that may be a tough step for some of the inexperienced Energice skaters this season.
"That would be a bonus for us this year. That's not our focus," said Coombs. "Everything that they are learning in their program is new. They've never done it before. Our goal for this year is to come together as a team and understand the different aspects and the different synchro elements."
From boot camp, the skaters have been learning the choreography and required elements in their routine over the past few months.
"We worked on technique on the ice and then our
program," Coombs explained. "The first step is finding music that suits the
skaters as a group. Sometimes we've chose lyrical music, or fast music. This is
a very powerful group and they like to have fun on the ice."
Energice will be skating to RiverDance this year.
A successful routine would have skaters showing off RiverDance so well, that even if the music was muted, the judges would still know the team is skating to a RiverDance program.
Skate Canada sets the required elements that teams are judged by.
"You have to do a line. You have do a circle, a wheel. But how well you do those things is where you place in competition," Coombs explains. "The judges are looking at, did you do the element properly and they're looking at your interpretation, skating skills, creativity and choreography. That makes up your total score."
Juvenile and Adult programs are three minutes and 10 seconds in length, while Beginner and Star 4 are two minutes and 30 seconds.
Following a couple of years of many cancellations and fewer competitions, all skaters were welcoming a return to a normal routine.
Madison Wright, a 11-year old student at Pierre Elliott Trudeau elementary school, in St. Thomas, has been synchro skating since the age of six.
"It feels really good to be back on the ice with my team," Wright said. "I get to be with a team and I get to go to different competitions and have fun at the hotels.
Formerly a singles skater, who landed a lutz jump during her CanSkate years, Wright says her synchro skating highlight is last year's provincial competition.
Jada Hamm, who travels from Port Rowan, is in her second year of synchro.
"I love the team, coaches and my friends and just being out on the ice being able to work together," Hamm said. "I've made a lot of new friends and my coaches are awesome."
One of the more experienced skaters, is 15-year old Leah Heard of St. Thomas.
"It's awesome to be back with people and be able to have a community," said the Grade 10 student at Central Elgin CI. "It's a new team with many new people, so I want get out to competitions and have a clean program and really set the bar for us and be able to achieve more next year."
St. Thomas has three adult teams and Energice has been on the provincial podium for each of the past 10 years. Next May, Energice will be at the World championships, in Germany. Last time on the world stage, Energice placed second.
Catch the skaters showcasing their talents, at the Club's gala is, January 14th, at East Elgin Community Centre, in Aylmer.
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