Emilee McLearn and Charlotte McKenzie participate in dryland training as members of the Houston Figure Skating Club prepared for a new season. (Houston Figure Skating Club photo)

Skaters preparing for new season

Also had a busy summer of training

Summer may not be the time many people think about ice skating, but that hasn’t been the case with the Houston Figure Skating Club.

The club held a two-week dryland training camp in July and a two-week on-ice camp in August to keep skills honed in anticipation of an official start to the skating season this fall.

Close to 20 participants took part in the dryland camp at the Twain Sullivan gym in July and 18 participants attended a skate camp in Smithers in August, says club official Mia McGonigal.

“The focus was a mix of cardio, flexibility as well as sport-specific training,” she said of the dryland camp.

Close to 60 skaters were registered last year ranging in ages from 3 to 18 and registration is now open for the new season. A registration night was held Sept. 11.

Although the new refrigeration equipment at the arena isn’t expected to be installed and ready to function until the first week of November, McGonigal said the club has always had a later start than other clubs in the region.

“It seriously sets us back at competitions,” said McGonigal of the later starts to the season. “We do our best to book ice sessions in neighbouring communities. This year we have weekends booked at the new arena in Smithers until the Houston rink opens.”

Although the District of Houston is making the Houston arena floor available at no-charge this fall because of November ice in-service date, an offer that was appreciated, McGonigal said it came too late as the club had already booked and paid for another venue.

Head coach Stephanie Auston is returning for the new season, traveling in from Smithers every day to attend sessions. Also returning is coach Kelcie Cochran.

“Both coaches attended summer training and seminars and our little club is very luck to have two qualified and dedicated coaches,” McGonigal added.

On-ice training takes place two to two and a half hours each time four days a week after school.

And while skaters work on their routines, planning is already in place for the club’s closing ice show next spring.

“It’s going to be good,” said McGonigal of the closing show.

More information is available from the club’s website, www.houstonfigureskatingclub.weebly.com.

And registration information is available from the club’s registrar, Chelsey Kettle, at chelseykettle@hotmail.com.

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