Skaters to sharpen skills in Sylvan Lake
Figure Skating: Okotoks club preparing for competition in March
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 06:00 am
The road to a major figure skating championship in Rocky Mountain House will practically go right through Sylvan Lake and the Okotoks Figure Skating Club is looking to stay on the right path.
Okotoks figure skaters will compete at the Centennial Winterskate competition on Feb. 1-3 in Sylvan Lake in preparation for Starskate in Rocky Mountain House in March.
Anja Nel, a Grade 11 student at Holy Trinity Academy, said the Sylvan Lake competition will help fine-tune her program.
“I take it very seriously to try out my new program to make sure I am on the right track,” said Nel, who will compete in the Senior Silver freeskate and the gold interpretive.
Nel developed a new program for her freeskate a month ago and she finds it “more graceful” than her previous routine. However, there are a few bumps to iron out in Sylvan Lake.
“This will be the first time I will compete with it,” Nel said. “I have been just doing it in practice. This competition will help me get it ready for Starskate.”
Starskate is one of the premier events on the Alberta Figure Skating circuit.
Jenaya Niessen, 16, will be competing against Nel in the freeskate in Sylvan Lake —or make that competing “with” rather than “against.”
“I don’t worry about Anja — I can’t help how she skates,” Niessen said. “All I can do is go out there and do my best. When you are both in the same club, you try and support one another.”
However, unlike Nel she won’t be trying out a new program; she is using the same routine from last year.
“I have had my freeskate since last year, I have just made a few changes to make it better,” Niessen said.
“It an be an advantage because I know the music really well and I can focus on the jumps more.”
She wants to skate a clean program in Sylvan Lake.
“That’s when you nail everything — I have done it in practice but not in competition,” she said. “In skating you don’t get a second chance.”
Haley Banyard, 16, will be competing her interpretive program for the first time in Sylvan Lake.
“That will be an interesting experience and I hope it will be rewarding in the end,” Banyard said. “I am also excited to be competing against other skaters as well.”
Interpretive programs involve taking a piece of music coupled with the skater putting his or her own personality into the theme of the music. Banyard’s theme is from the roaring 20s’ from those Gatsbyian, Thoroughly Modern Millie Days.
She plans to use the same routine for Starskate.
“I am just testing everything and seeing how it works in Sylvan Lake,” she said.
Younger skaters Lauren Bale and Geraldine Newman will not only be skating in the individual events, but will also feature in the team performance.
That is when four skaters perform a certain element and their totals are added together.
“I am really looking forward to it,” Bale said. “Skating is a solo sport and it is fun to get together with your friends for the team event.”
Newman is also looking forward to the team event, but she is chomping at the bit to fine-tune things in Sylvan Lake, the club’s first competition of 2013.
“This meet is important because it helps you know what competing is and you find out about your competitors,” said the 11-year-old Newman.
There’s another advantage to having a group of young girls meet in Sylvan Lake before the big trip to Rocky.
“It will help us bond together,” Bale said.
For information about the Okotoks Figure Skating Club go to www.okotoksskatingclub.com