Wednesday, 01 February 2012 22:10

Big figure skating weekend in Swift Current coming up

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By Jessi Gowan — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Figure skaters from across the prairie provinces will be competing in Swift Current during the annual Provincial Jean Norman competition, hosted by the Swift Current Skating Club at the Fairview arenas Feb. 24-26.

Fans of the sport will also be able to enjoy a Saskatchewan Stars on Ice show on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at the iplex, featuring skaters from throughout the province.

“It’s a pretty big competition, and a lot of skaters spend their entire season training and preparing for this competition in particular,” explained Lenni Lacasse, freelance skating coach with the Swift Current Skating Club. “This gives them a bit of an advantage, competing on the ice that they train on. Any of the skaters coming in from out of town have to learn the rink for the first time.”

The competition is held annually, but moves around the province each year. There will be between 250 and 300 skaters attending the event, with more than 1,000 different entries, since many skaters compete in a number of events.

“There will be a lot of skating that weekend, for sure,” noted Lacasse. “We haven’t hosted the competition here in years, and haven’t hosted any competitions at all recently, so to be hosting this one is really big — especially with the bursary skate on Friday night, we are getting the best that Saskatchewan has for that show.”

The Saskatchewan Stars on Ice show will showcase skaters on the High Performance and Competitive Development Teams, including two skaters from Swift Current.

The evening will also feature a performance by Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers, two Saskatchewan skaters who have recently placed third in pairs at the Canadian Championships.

“It’s so exciting that they are coming to Swift Current, it’s really inspirational for our kids,” Lacasse explained. “It would be like watching an exhibition game with Wayne Gretzky — it’s just so big. For anyone with the slightest interest in the sport, that will be a must-see.”

With the competition coming up at the end of the month, local coaches and skaters are working hard to get ready.

Skaters frequently miss training days to attend competitions, and those days need to be made up before the next competition.

“A lot of skaters start putting in a few hours on the ice before school, and renting ice during the day to train and even missing school,” said Lacasse. “They are so dedicated to the sport, they will do whatever they need to do to get extra ice and extra coaching.”

Figure skating offers a unique blend of athleticism and artistry, combining aspects of other sports such as gymnastics, dance, and hockey to make up a very active sport that is perfect for the creative soul.

“It’s so individual, and every kid is different,” Lacasse noted. “Some kids will participate in every competition that they can, one or two a month from December to April, and some just compete once a year. Some kids don’t compete at all, and just enjoy skating for recreation. You can just move at your own pace and do whatever you are comfortable doing.”

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