Ice skating: Team faces high level competition in the US

Team Australia will compete in the US in April.
Team Australia will compete in the US in April.

A WA synchronised ice-skating team tackling April’s World Championships is mixing up training to ensure it is ready for the unusual conditions it will face in the US.

The two-day competition will be held in Colorado Springs, which is at 1600m above sea level.

Team Australia coach Genevieve Hoh-nen said the setting presented a different test for competitors.

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“This has meant that the athletes have had to start doing specific conditioning and training aimed at preparing them for the impact of altitude,” she said. The team, which goes by the name Infusion when competing in Australia, trains three times a week at the Cockburn Ice Arena, as well as other preparation.

The 17 skaters qualified for the tournament in the US after taking gold at the Australian Figure Skating Championships in Melbourne last November.

Skating out of their skins, they secured a team-high score to earn their tickets to the US.

“It was an amazing moment to see all the hard work pay off,” Ms Hohnen said.

“The skaters and support team have put in countless hours, early mornings and weekends to achieve their goals.

“This was a victory all the sweeter after the team placed third last year. The skaters really learned and grew from that experience and pushed themselves to their limits.”

Having competed at the World Championships in Canada in 2015, Ms Hohnen said her squad would be able to handle the pressure of the big stage.

“I believe that one of our great strengths as a team is attempting many of the more challenging elements that some of our competitors shy away from,” she said.

“In particular we have worked very hard on death spirals and group lifts in order to lift the difficulty level of the programs.”