July 16th, 2024

Local speed skaters carve it up at Bridge Bolt competition

By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on November 3, 2022.

photo courtesy LuvCANpic - Lethbridge Bridge Blades skater Claire Peake, helmet No. 07, rounds the corner during competition at the Bridge Bolt meet at the ATB Centre this past weekend.

Speed skaters from B.C. and Alberta convened at the ATB Centre for the Lethbridge Bridge Blades’s Bridge Bolt meet on the weekend.

Skaters were anywhere from five to 18-years-old.

“This year, it’s actually a qualifier for the short track, so that’s good,” said Blades coach Rayel Green-Seipp.

“We don’t normally get to host qualifiers — so that’s kind of fun. It draws a lot of people into our city and so this meet is both ability and age class. So it’s nice because it’s a little bit of a mixture of both É As well as the kids are starting to get comfortable with some new rules that Speed Skate Canada has put in place.”

Speed Skate Canada adjusted some start line rules and technical rules.

Green-Seipp thinks it is important to talk race strategy and alternative strategies before meets.

“If the previous race didn’t go the way you wanted, you ended up in a different final, that kind of stuff (and) how to do deal with that,” she said.

“Speed skating is so unpredictable, as well as make sure their endurance is up. It’s the beginning of the season but they still have the long distance races. So they still need their endurance.”

The coach expected some personal bests from her skaters on the weekend.

“We’ve already seen some personal bests which is great as well as (a) learning experience,” she said.

“I think every meet we have opportunities to learn, as well as I expect a lot of the older returning skaters to help the first time competitors.”

Most skaters have the option to participate in over 10 meets a season.

Blades’ Junior-1 skater Zakhary Adelman has been speed skating for nine years and thought this meet was very important for the club.

“This will really help the club grow in the future,” he said.

“It really brings a name to the Lethbridge speed skating.”

Adelman could see the competitive side of the meet.

“All of my friends are here and so it’s very tough racing — a lot of fast skaters here,” he said.

Claire Peake has been a local speed skater for four years and thinks the Lethbridge meet is fun and her mindset is that she is going to be great.

“I think I’m doing pretty good,” said Peake.

“I had a fall but I got right back up and did great.”

She faced a lot of tricky skaters.

“But I do like to be against tricky people because they help me power myself to go faster and try to catch up to them.”

Speed Skating Alberta vice-president of skating development, Marc Poulin, was in attendance for the meet.

“It’s a speed skating meet that is essentially a qualifying meet for the (13) to 18 year old’s,” he said.

“It’s one of the two qualifying meets that we have this year and the next one in March in Edmonton. And the skaters are vying for positions to be one of the top two, three or four (and) depends on the final allotment we get from the national speed skating bodies, Speed Skating Canada, to compete at the national level.”

Skaters that qualify will represent Alberta.

The Lethbridge meet weighed 40 per cent and the Edmonton meet with weigh 60 per cent of a skaters qualification.

Lethbridge speed skaters who medalled include Adelman (silver), Gavin Ogilvie (gold), Peake (bronze), Olivia Cho (gold), Theo Hazendonk (silver) and Denise Wesseling (bronze).

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