Brussels skater's team wins national silver in synchronized championship
BY DENNY SCOTT
After winning bronze at the Skate Ontario Regional Synchronized Skating Championship early in February, Allyson Barbour of Brussels and her synchronized skating team captured silver at the national level late last month.
Barbour, who skates for Tavistock Team Unity, which trains out of the Tavistock and District Recreation Centre and the Stratford Rotary Complex, captured gold at the intermediate level at the Skate Canada National Synchronized Skating Championship at Winsport, an athletic facility in Calgary, Alberta.
Barbour and her team competed against 10 teams from across Canada. After taking second place with its first skate, the team scored 65.45 in its second skate, for a total of 96.88 points and the silver medal. The Nexxice team from Burlington won first with a score of 101.53 while Meraki from the Leaside Skating Club in Toronto took bronze with a score of 90.15.
In an interview with The Citizen, Barbour said her team is happy with the results of the tournament, especially after having made it to the national championship two years prior, but finishing sixth.
Barbour’s mother, Tricia, said the team celebrated the win in Banff and skated at Lake Louise before heading home. The younger Barbour said it was an experience of a lifetime that she won’t forget.
“The win felt good,” she said. “We’ve been working hard for a long time to get here and it finally paid off.”
The team started practising together when the COVID-19 pandemic had just started, meaning members spent almost two years preparing for the competition, she said.
The intermediate division doesn’t have an international competition, Barbour explained, but next year she and her teammates could move up to the junior division, which does have international honours up for grabs.
“That’s a possibility for next year,” she said. “I hope to do that, but it depends on whether skaters stay on and other issues.”
Barbour first started skating with her team eight years ago after meeting a team member through the Mitchell Skating Club. At the time she was a member of both the Mitchell and Brussels Skating Clubs, but then moved on to the Tavistock program as she enjoyed skating as a team over solo performances.
“As a single skater you do jumps and spins and free skates, but in synchro, you’re doing elements with a group,” she said.
Barbour hopes to be studying kinesiology at university next year while remaining with the team. She said that much of her team has been together since she started skating eight years ago.
“We have become a lot closer since we started working and practising as a team” she said. “Probably three-quarters of the team has stayed since I started eight years ago, with some people coming and going.”
As for other synchronized skating hopefuls, Barbour said that clubs typically have a skills section at the start of each season and encourages anyone interested to find a local club and try it out.
“Come out and give it a try to see if you would like performing in a group, or prefer continuing with solo,” she said.