- BC Games
Sandy Shores off to a great start
It’s been a busy summer for members of the Sandy Shores Skating Club, and Parksville’s Olivia Bau jump started what amounts to a new era for the longtime local high performance program by winning a silver medal in Vancouver.
In the mix with 200 of her peers ranging in age from 7-21 at the B.C. Summer Skate Competition Aug. 15-18, and under the watchful eyes of newly hired coaches Richard O’Neill and Shannon Light, Bau, 13, parlayed her best scores of the season into a second place finish in the Juvenile Ladies U14 division.
It was O’Neill’s first major competition with the club since leaving his longtime posting in Mexico and signing on as SSSC’s new director and head coach in June.
“We’ve all been working hard. The kids put in a lot of time this summer — several hours a day five days a week — preparing for Vancouver, and for the upcoming provincials. There’s definitely an initial growth period about me learning about the kids and about them learning about me,” he said. “A lot of practice, a lot of competition simulation, a lot of training and learning new skills.”
The program involves both on ice and off ice training.
All that hard work certainly paid off in Vancouver for Bau, “who landed more difficult jumps for the first time in competition, and earned a medal for the first time in this event level,” said a proud sounding O’Neill.
“She was really pleased,” he said, pointing out his young skater is back out on the ice skating well and motivated by her recent success.
O’Neill and Light, from Parksville and an SSSC alumnni who has embraced the new role of assistant coach and head of off-ice training, took 11 skaters to Vancouver for the big comp, and associate member Kennedy Lavertu from Port Alberni finished first in the PreNovice Ladies (U16) division.
Kennedy won both the short and long program components, repeating a gold win in her category that she earned the week before in Alberta at another major summer competition, the Wild Rose Invitational.
The Wild Rose and the B.C. Summer Skate are two of the top five summer events staged in Canada.
“Consequently,” explained O’Neill, “both skaters are well positioned to achieve great results in the B.C. provincial championships,” slated for Vancouver in six weeks.
Additional SSSC skaters that have been training all summer and competing include Sam Davidson, Katherine Lee, Youna Uehara, Kiera Klymchuck, Tabitha Devaughn, Keyana Willard, Lydia Robertson, Kate Cameron and Indianna Berg.
A number of those young skaters are competing in what is a newly designed ‘non listing result’ format with the emphases on individual levels of merit (bronze, silver and gold) for detail components and overall value — a new approach to introducing little kids to competition.
“It’s kind of an interesting concept that’s being tried in B.C.,” said O’Neill. “All our skaters achieved bronze or higher with many obtaining personal best’s for their performances.”
“It’s a learning curve for both coaches and skaters,” he said, “however all went well, and in addition, at the lower star skate levels, this was the first provincial competition for many of the kids, so we were all pleased with results.”
LEARN TO SKATE: SSSC’s learn to skate program starts up this fall and the club is introducing revolutionary new ‘Canskate program’ for beginners.
“I am quite excited about this introduction of the new national program, which is revolutionary — the approach is much more motivating and the fun aspects have been intensified, so as a result I think kids will be motivated to learn quicker.”
SSSC’s CanSkate starts Sept. 16 and will be offered several days a week from pre-school level to after school.
“We’ll be accepting membership ongoing.”
For more information go to sandyshoresskatingclub.com or call president Launie Elves at 250-594-5491.