The Sooke Sensations synchronized skating team work on their choreography at SEAPARC at a regular practice earlier in December.

The Sooke Sensations synchronized skating team work on their choreography at SEAPARC at a regular practice earlier in December.

Local skaters thrive despite funding cuts

Sooke Sensations are gearing up for the provincial championships

  • Dec. 28, 2011 5:00 p.m.

The Sooke Sensations synchronized skating team is heading into the provincial championships in 2012 with high hopes, despite working with a shoestring budget this year.

Normally receiving a grant of about $10,000 from commercial gaming revenue (casinos), this year the team got $3,000. The province generated $1.10 billion in net gaming revenue, with $135 million distributed back to people and communities in B.C., according to Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General website.

“We applied for $16,000,” said head coach Bethan Greydanus. “Basically this year they said because our budget was fairly balanced (we were given less).”

Instead, the team has had to do a little more fundraising — like the Skate-A-Thon held last month. Now, the Sensations are busy getting ready to travel to Surrey on Jan. 6 for the competition.

“We’re just kind of polishing up now, working on the presentation part.”

The all-girl lineup of nine girls carried over from last year range in age from eight to 12. Practicing early in the mornings at SEAPARC before the sun comes out to save on ice rental costs — half price for a.m. slots — they do an hour of choreography off the ice and then an hour on to perform the actual routines. Greydanus said she’s looking for individual successes at the provincials.

“We’re just hoping for personal best scores, that’s kind of the goal because you never know who you’re going to be up against. But you know, because the scores are comparable from year-to-year and from competition-to-competition, you know when you’ve done better than before.”

Last year, the Sensations placed third out of three teams. They did, however, walk away with the Millennium Cup trophy, an award bestowed upon a team displaying the best spirit and sportsmanship.

“That was more exciting than probably anything else,” she said.

The girls will be judged on two components in the competition — points are given for technical (how well moves like spins and jumps are performed), and presentation (the way transitions look between moves).

Largely an individual sport, members of the Sensations also compete by themselves outside of the team. That is how many are recruited, through the Sooke Skating Club’s CanSkate and junior programs that Greydanus is also in charge of. The season runs from September until March and both sexes are accepted, although she said “we don’t get a lot of interest from the guys.”

Aside from the provincials, the team will also be participating in an Island singles competition at the end of January with about 60 kids.

For more information, call the Sooke Skating Club at 250-642-2267.

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