The Isle of Wight’s four synchronized skating teams all came back from the British championships in Nottingham this week with medals – a feat made all the more remarkable because their home ice rink has been closed since November 2015.
Damage to the roof of Ryde Arena resulting from high winds led to the closure of the rink, leaving the teams temporarily without skating facilities on the island. Their entries to the British Synchronized Skating Championships, however, had already been submitted, and the teams decided to keep preparing for them through off-ice activities and by making trips to Bracknell and Oxford rinks. They took ice time when they could, with the result that they were training into the early morning – they even travelled to the mainland to train on New Year’s Day. None the less, the teams have had much less ice skating practice than usual.
Wight Jewels took the silver medal in the senior event – the highest level of synchronized skating. The move from junior to senior level has seen them learn new skills, in particular the group lift for the free programme, which has seen the team hard at work in the gym to become strong enough to execute it.
After skating their short programme to The Gipsy King’s Bamboleo, the Jewels were in third place with 26.58, behind Wales & West’s Team Spirit on 29.09 and Aberdeen’s Zariba on 29.10. The Jewels’ free programme, with its scary doll theme, scored 56.31, giving them a total of 82.89 for second place. Zariba won with a total of 92.40, and last year’s champions, Team Spirit, were third overall with 79.75.
Novice B team Wight Crystals achieved a massive personal best to win the trophy. They performed their routine to music from Matilda in true naughty children style, scoring 23.27. All the skaters in the Crystals are aged from 10 to 15 years.
Elementary team Wight Sparkles, the Island’s youngest team, won bronze in a strong field of 11 teams. They entertained the judges with their Mickey Mouse routine and were “Mickeylicious” and looked “Mouschievous”, scoring 18.73. Nottingham’s Ice Pops were first with 24.88 and Solway Lightning of Dumfries second on 22.96.
Adult team Wight Fossils improved massively on the ninth position they achieved at their last British championships. Skating to music from Les Miserables, the Fossils scored 18.59, enough for bronze position in a field of nine teams. Altrincham’s Bladerunners were first with 21.26 and Hull’s Northern Stars second on 20.74.
“ What a massive achievement for the Isle of Wight teams,” said Ryde coach Terri Smith. “Not only did all the teams place, but the circumstances leading up to the British have also given us the biggest obstacles ever.
“We have not been able to train at our own rink since November and most teams have only skated twice on the mainland in two months. Our adult and senior teams have been training late at night and after midnight at Bracknell and Oxford rinks. All skaters and parents are so committed and dedicated to each other we made it work. This group of amazing skaters shows that nothing is impossible.
“Thank you to everyone involved in synchronized skating and now we have a lot to live up to next year. I’m sure with regular training sessions and improved facilities this will be possible. Thank you to the Ryde Arena Trust for all their continued work and time they are giving to our rink.”
Official results: http://www.icephoto.co.uk/Synchro1516/
Report provided by Ryde head coach Terri Smith. Apologies for the late publication of the report, but iowskaters has been in Sweden for the Leon Lurje Trophy and not able to update the site.