Archive for the ‘Synchronized Skating’ Category

IW synchronized skating teams take a break from their nightly travels to mainland training rinks to compete at the Viola Synchronized Skating Competition at Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff on 9 and 10 December.

Wight Jewels compete at senior level, facing hosts Team Viola. Wight Crystals compete at advanced novice B, Wight Sparkles in the juvenile category, and Wight Sequins at elementary level.

The teams are all sponsored by Wightlink.

Update (11 December): The teams came home with one gold and three silver medals. Wight Crystals placed first, and the Jewels, Sparkles and Sequins all placed second in their categories.

Results: http://www.iceresultsuk.org.uk/ViolaSynchroCompetition/2017/index.htm

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Unusually,  this year iowskaters gets to report on IW interest in the Australian Figure Skating Championships in Brisbane from 1 to 8 December. Former Wight Jewel Beth Howarth competes as a member of Brisbane’s Team Nova at senior level in synchronized skating on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December.

Update (4 December): Nova finished third overall with a score of 98.64. With luck they will be on the international competition circuit later in the season, possibly even competing against Wight Jewels.

Link: http://isq.org.au/news.php

Results: http://isq.org.au/Results/result.htm

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Team Surprise, free programme, Shanghai Trophy 2017

Part of iowskaters’ role is to continue to report on IW skaters who have flown the nest. We are delighted to report that Gemma Marsh, who now skates for Sweden’s Team Surprise, won another international medal when the team took bronze at the 2017 Shanghai Trophy over 24 to 26 November.

The Shanghai Trophy is an invitational event that includes short track speed skating and synchronized skating, and this year was extended to include the four figure skating disciplines: pairs, dance, and individual men and ladies. The synchronized skating competition is attended by teams from the top five nations in the sport.

Team Surprise were in fourth place after the short programme, but pulled up to third in the free.

The competition is no longer available on replay on the Olympic Channel.

Short programme: https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/playback/ice-skating-2017-isu-shanghai-trophy-china-day-1-part-2/

Free programme: https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/playback/ice-skating-2017-isu-shanghai-trophy-china-day-2-part-2/

Gala (starts 3 hours in): https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/playback/ice-skating-2017-isu-shanghai-trophy-china-day-3/

Results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1718/sht17/

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IW senior team Wight Jewels say goodbye to another skater who has gone international as long-time member Beth Howarth leaves for Australia to join Team Nova. She talks to iowskaters about her move


Beth (far left, front) with the Wight Jewels at the Leon Lurje Trophy, Gothenburg


If Santa Claus grants wishes, then Wight Jewel Beth Howarth can thank him for making possible the latest stage of her ice skating career. For Beth, who turned 21 just this week, is about to leave the Isle of Wight to join Australian senior synchronized skating team Nova, based in Brisbane, Queensland.

Beth started skating at the comparatively late age of 10 – and it was a Skate with Santa special at Ryde rink that sparked her passion.

“My dad first took me skating on Christmas Eve with Santa,” says Beth. “Then I begged my dad for lessons and finally when he let me have them I was so happy! I started skating because I loved watching the sport, I had tried lots of sports before but I never felt like I found the sport that I was good at.”

Beth took lessons with the head coach of Ryde ice rink, Terri Smith, who also coaches the synchronized skating teams. Perhaps inevitably, Beth switched to synchro at the age of 12.

“I always watched the teams skate down the rink on patch ice and I loved the idea of being a part of a team and going away together,” says Beth. “I was also coached by Terri Smith and she encouraged me to join the juvenile team.”

Like others for whom skating has become a passion, Beth has relied on her family and coach to support and encourage her.

“My parents and family have helped me so much with skating, driving me to the rink for 5:30am practices and encouraging me all the way through. They’ve also taken me to competitions and been my number one supporters. My coach Terri Smith has of course helped me loads with my skating and I am so happy I have had Terri as a coach throughout these years with her great understanding.”

When it comes to synchro, however, she says her biggest inspiration has been six-times world champions Team Surprise of Sweden.

“Team Surprise work so hard and for so many hours to perfect their programmes. I remember first going to a training camp in Sweden and seeing them skate and I was just amazed at how fast they were and how in time. From then on I have always wanted to perfect my skating and always be improving.”

Inspiration has also come from many other skaters and her team-mates on the Isle of Wight.

Beth explains: “One main person was Gemma Marsh. She was always down the rink working so hard and showing up to practice early. Now Gemma skates for Team Surprise and it always made me think if I wanted to do something like that then it was possible. Gemma has always worked so hard, and this summer has helped me at patch ice to improve my steps and skating skills ready for Nova. I had also always thought about maybe travelling and joining another team but had been nervous to do it, but now I am so excited.”

Skating with IW team Wight Jewels at junior and more recently senior level has also played its part.

“Skating with the Jewels has taught me team work but also how to trust each other, especially doing senior where you really need to trust each other because of lifts but also because of the speed that the team now has when skating. If you don’t trust the person next to you then it won’t work.”

Beth took a break from skating when she left the Island to study at Brunel University, but she quickly realized that she didn’t want to give up skating.

“On my second year I decided to go back,” she says, “and this was when the Jewels made the decision to be a senior team. It was hard to juggle both university and skating. I also did netball at uni which then made it even harder. I had to set myself a timetable for each day so I knew what I was doing at what time because I was so busy. I like to be organized and knew that I wouldn’t miss a session because of uni work.”

Her determination also came into play when ice skating suffered a major blow on the Island on the closure of its rink.

“When the rink shut down it also taught me that if you want something then don’t give up trying,” she says. “With it being so much harder to train without a home rink the team really had to pull together to put out a strong performance which we would be proud of.”

It’s no surprise, then, that with such a positive attitude that Beth would not be daunted at the prospect of going to Australia to continue skating. Her new team, Nova, has competed in the senior division since 2011. Since then they have been Australian champions and have represented Australia at the senior world championships in 2013, 2014 and 2016.

Her desire to go travelling after university led to the move.

“I have always wanted to go to Australia and skating is something which I love and didn’t want to leave,” says Beth. “I was planning on going to travelling at the end of the year, and my family suggested that maybe I do both. I saw Nova skate at the Trophy d’Ecosse in 2016 and I remember loving both their programmes and how they skated. I sent an email to their coach and now I am off on an amazing adventure and ready to work hard when I get there.

“Joining Nova will allow me to train more and improve my synchro. It will also allow me to travel, as the team is so far away I will be going to compete in some different competitions, such as in Sydney, which will be an amazing opportunity. I am so excited to do internationals with the team and get to training.”

In the past Nova has competed internationally in the French Cup at Rouen, the Spring Cup in Milan, and the Trophy d’Ecosse in Dumfries: Nova were bronze medallists at the Trophy d’Ecosse in 2016. With an international schedule ahead of her, Beth is almost certain to come across her old team-mates, including the Jewels and, of course, Gemma in Team Surprise. With Beth and Gemma having a shared friend in Solway Stars’ Molly Coxon, now skating for Nexxice juniors in Canada, British supporters at internationals may well be raising a baffling array of flags.

Fittingly, it is an international that provides one of Beth’s personal highlights.

“One of my most memorable moments,” she says, “would have to be competing at Junior Worlds with all my family watching. It was so lovely for them to come and see me skate at such a big competition.”

But she’ll also take with her the special moment provided this year at the British Synchronized Skating Championships as a member of Wight Jewels.

“The long programme was Lion King, which is one of my favourites,” she says. “After the short we knew we had nothing to lose, so we just went for it. We put all our effort into the routine and so much emotion that by the end we didn’t worry about the score as we knew we couldn’t have done anything more. When I looked around at the end most of the team was in tears and we were so happy that we had finally skated the long programme how we wanted.”

Beth leaves for Australia on 5 August. iowskaters wishes her well and looks forward to seeing her soon in competition on the international circuit


Team Nova: http://www.iceskatingbrisbane.com.au/

Beth (aloft, right) in training with Wight Jewels on Ryde seafront

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The 2017 ISU World Synchronized Skating Championships gets under way this week in Colorado Springs, USA.

Teams have been arriving in the US over the past week to acclimatize to the time difference (7 hours behind the UK) and the altitude: the event arena is at more that 1,700 metres, and many competing teams train at not much above sea level. The last particularly high altitude championships, at Courmayeur in 2014, was at only about 1,400 metres. Teams have been able to practice at the nearby US Airforce Academy rink at over 2,000 metres.

The UK is again represented by Team Zariba of Aberdeen, who flew out Tuesday. Zariba managed to raise an impressive £22,829 through fundraising to finance the trip. The Isle of Wight’s Gemma Marsh is flying the flag for Sweden as part of Team Surprise (Sweden 1).

Unofficial practice gets under way tomorrow (5 April). The short programme is on 7 April, starting at 6pm local time until 9.24pm (1am to 4.24 am on 8 April in the UK); the free is on 8 April at 3.45pm to 8.30pm (10.45pm on 8 April to 3.30am on 9 April in the UK). Times are taken from the current schedule at: http://assets.ngin.com

Streaming is via icenetwork in the US and requires a season pass. For the rest of the world, it is streamed free on the ISU skating channel: the competition is typically available at lower resolution on catch-up afterwards if the live viewing times prove too much.

Entries and results: www.isuresults.com/results/season1617/wcsys2017

Streaming (free, embargoed in US): www.eurovisionsports.tv/isu/

Streaming (US only, requires season pass): http://web.icenetwork.com

Official Website: www.2017synchroworlds.com

ISU event page: www.isu.org

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The Junior World Synchronized Skating Championships take place from 10 to 11 March in Mississauga, Canada. Great Britain is represented at the event by Nottingham Icicles.

Streaming of the event will be via YouTube, and live results are at http://www.isuresults.com/results/season1617/wjcsys2017/.

According to the current schedule, the short programme runs from 6.30pm to 9.09pm on Friday (UK time 11.30pm Friday to 2.09am Saturday); the free programme from 3pm to 6.22pm on Saturday (UK time 8pm to 11.22pm).

Official site: https://skatecanada.ca

ISU event page: www.isu.org

Results: www.isuresults.com

Streaming (YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/user/SkatingISU

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Sometimes, of course, IW synchro team members see fit to cease their involvement with ice skating and focus on something different, such as exams or a career. And sometimes, of course, iowskaters lives up to its promise to highlight the achievements of those former team members – even if it is no longer to do with skating.

Last night saw a big moment in the life of Sarah Close, formerly a member of the junior team incarnation of the Wight Jewels, when her first single, Call Me Out, was released worldwide at midnight. The song can be found on both iTunes and Spotify; the EP to which it belongs becomes fully available in April.

Sarah runs a thriving YouTube channel for her music – the channel has more than 700,000 subscribers at the time of writing.

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNpY7BgxICtDNZDSGtqUdAw

Sarah Close on Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/sarah-close/id497531270

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/2YxPNzO1tNxjDJBIGg95YT

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