October 22nd, 2020

Speedskaters race the clock

By Woodard, Dale on October 29, 2019.

Dale Woodard

Lethbridge Herald


It’s still early in the season, but for three local speed skaters their times are already heading in the direction they want.

That direction, of course, is down.

As they took the track for this year’s Bridge Bolt Saturday and Sunday at the ATB Centre, Lethbridge Speed Skating Association athletes Riley Vanderburgh, Jonnathan McIntosh and Braeden Kremenik continued to beat the clock.

With visions of skating at the Western Canadian Championship and the Alberta Winter Games later this season, snipped off seconds are trending in the right direction.

For Kremenik, that would mark a return to the Western Canadian Championship for the 14-year-old

“I was there last year,” he said. “It was different than normal competitions. It’s different going in, everybody wants to win. There were more crashes and there were more falls.”

This year’s Bridge Bolt was flawless for Kremenik, but his times still came down over the course of the two-day event with times of 21.19 in the 200m race and 40.6 in the 400m.

“I didn’t do too well in total, a lot of bad final positions,” he said. “But I broke a ton of personal bests, so it was good.”

Ditto for Vanderburgh, who turns 15 today.

“I think it went pretty well. I got a personal best on every distance and I’m almost breaking 40 seconds in my 400m,” said Vanderburgh, who also raced in the 1,500, 3,000m and 400m distances last weekend.

The skaters are about a month into their season.

“We’ve only had about four weeks of practice, but I think it is going pretty well,” said Vanderburgh. “I had a rocky start at a meet I did over Thanksgiving, but otherwise it is going really well.”

The trio will head north for another race in two weeks.

“We have the Edmonton meet coming up pretty soon and there are a few other meets in Calgary,” said Vanderburgh.

McIntosh set new personal bests in each of his events except for the 3,000m race.

“I fell in that one,” he said, adding the shorter distances are his preferred races.

“My strength is the 500m and 400m. It’s the longer distance than the 200m and it’s more exciting because a ton of crashes can happen at any moment.”

With Edmonton up next, the race against the clock continues as the season progresses.

“It’s just breaking times,” said Vanderburgh. “So getting under 20 seconds in the 200m and getting under 40 seconds in the 400 m.”

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