Winter on blades, Summer on wheels
Have you ever seen an Adult team doing a pivoting block in a gym hall?
Not far from Manchester in England, three synchronized skating teams enjoy the summer season by training off-ice on roller inline skates. A few days ago, two of them have even become World Champions in this discipline.
Whizz Kids (Junior B), Bladerunners (Adult) and Team Altair (Intermediate), from Altrincham Synchro Club in England, are practicing inline skating for the second summer in a row. "We decided to try the inline last year due to the cost of the ice time and the only available time slot of 6 am on Tuesday morning at our rink," said Sam Ozard, the coach of the Altrincham Synchro teams.
For her, inline skating is a good alternative way to train, especially for synchro as the skaters can continue to pivot the block, travel the circle or the wheel off-ice. "My synchro skaters are getting to practise the actual synchro elements more and I have noticed as a coach that they have to push harder in the inlines. It’s helped them to gain more speed on the ice."
A discipline recognized by the World Inline Figure Skating Association
Synchronized Artistic Skating is a new addition recognized by the World Inline Figure Skating Association. Teams have between 8 and 12 skaters and have to perform a free program with six required elements: Intersection, Line, Pivoting Block, Rotating Circle, Travelling Wheel and a Creative Element. Novice, Junior, Senior, Adult have the same elements. In roller inline skating, the moves, steps sequences, spins, etc are considered as transitional elements.
To practise inline skating, the Altrincham teams wear the same type of boots and attach the steels and wheels to them. "The competitions run the same way as on the ice. You have an official practice of 10 minutes, then you compete in your category. Also, we have Officials and Judges at the competition that are also on ice Officials and Judges," explained Sam Ozard.
"This sport is even newer than synchro on ice. So, there are not many teams competing, only Italy and Great Britain so far. But I know that skaters from Belgium have started using them too, so hopefully, we will see Belgium at a competition soon," added the coach.
Two gold medals
On the ice last season, the Bladerunners won the British Championships and Trophy D’Ecosse in the Adult division. Two weeks ago, they received the gold medal at the World Open Inline Adult Championships in Fasano (ITA). Whizz Kids have won mid-July the World Junior Open Inline Championships. This year, four of the Whizz Kids were also chosen by British Ice Skating to go to the ISU synchro training camp in Vierumäki, Finland. "A great honour," concluded their coach.
For those interested, the inline synchro competitions for next season will take place in Paris (FRA) in February, in Toulouse (FRA) in April and also in Ukraine in March.