A year of firsts for skaters

Following the UVM Figure Skating Show that took place April 14 at Gutterson Fieldhouse, The Cynic thought it was a good time to get to know Figure Skating Club a little better.

This year has been a year of firsts for the team. They started their season placing first in the Terry Connors Synchro Open in early December, and followed that up with a strong performance at the Eastern Synchronized Skating Competition in Lake Placid February 2 where they placed sixth.

And then for the first time in the club’s history, four skaters traveled to the University of Delaware to compete in a freestyle competition.

The team’s recent successes are made even more impressive due to the fact that this season they coached themselves. There was not enough in their budget to hire a coach and pay for ice time.

“We had some of the girls who were most knowledgeable take the reins in the choreography and running practice. Then we all just shared our ideas about what we needed to improve on and how we should go about it,” sophomore Annie Maheux said.

“I think it’s notable that there were four skaters who went to the freestyle competition and two were first-year and the other two were sophomores,” Maheux said. “There is a growing movement of more interest in competitions and more involvement in the club.”

Maheux feels that in this past season, the freestyle team blossomed and grew the confidence to compete in their first intercollegiate freestyle competition. Freestyle is different from synchronized skating because instead of fourteen girls skating in unison it’s now one girl all by herself.

Next year, when Maheux is co-captain of the synchronized skating team, she hopes to, “have many more freestyle competitions along with synchronized.”

Sophomore Alyssa Solomon said that, there has recently been more interest in competing than ever before. Alyssa is next year’s vice-president and freestyle chair.

“Right now our club has 27 members, and there are 14 on the synchro team,” Solomon said. “But only three girls skated synchro before they came to UVM.”

For many of the members of the Club, figure skating has been a part of their life for years. Annie Maheux thinks that if someone is, “already a figure skater, they’re looking for schools that have skating and so getting our name out there at competitions is huge. As is having our name on the United States Figure Skating Association website. I think that’s a big thing in college searches.”

For others figure skating is a more recent hobby. Regardless of skill level, even individuals interested in learning to skate are welcome in the club. Next year the club will begin to run structured lessons for those who want to learn. There is also open ice time three mornings per week for club members to skate and practice.

But it’s not only those interested in skating who have joined the club.

 

“Our announcer at the show, he doesn’t skate, but he wanted to support us by announcing,” Solomon said. “There are other volunteer positions during our events that people can help out with.“

For many participants, figure skating has helped them transition into college. For Annie, “the best relationships I’ve made in my life have been through skating. I think a lot of skaters feel that same way. When you’re on the ice with people several hours per week you become close to them. I think it’s a great way, especially coming into college, to branch out and make a wide variety of friends.”

Alyssa agrees. “We are a very diverse group of girls who have very diverse interests off the ice, but skating is this common interest for all of us and we can all connect through skating and that really opens to door for meeting people.”

Support for the club has been steadily increasing as of lately, and the show on April 14 was the club’s most successful fundraiser ever. “We had never had that many people in the audience for a show. I think that the club is growing,” Maheux said.

If you are interested in joining the Figure Skating Club or want to learn more, send an email to [email protected] As well as check out their website at http://thelynx.collegiatelink.net/organization/uvm-figure-skating-club.