Hey, guys! My name is Lauren Bracken, and I am from Valley Center, Calif., a small town in San Diego. I am a member of Miami University's collegiate varsity synchronized skating team. I am a sophomore chemical engineering major with a paper science focus at Miami University. I knew I wanted to go into engineering because I have always been a math and science person and found those subjects very interesting. I have had a great first year and beginning of my second year exploring the major, and I can't wait to start my first internship in the field this summer!
I began skating at the age of 3 1/2. Before synchronized skating, I skated on California Theatre On Ice for five years and competed at the International Theatre On Ice Competition in Toulouse, France. In 2003, I joined my first synchro team, Team del Sol. I skated with Team del Sol for two years before joining California Gold senior in Lakewood, Calif., for four years. I graduated from Valley Center High School in 2009, became a freshman at Miami University and earned a spot on the junior varsity team that fall.
One of my favorite skating memories is the 2007 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, where California Gold won the pewter medal. This was not only my first national medal but also the first time a Pacific Coast Section team had ever won a national medal in the senior division.
Skating for Team USA has been such an honor and accomplishment. Stepping onto the ice and hearing the announcer say, "Representing the United States of America" is one of the most exhilarating and thrilling moments. Earning the privilege to represent your country is not something that many can claim, and it has been one of the best experiences in my life.
There are so many opportunities within the synchronized skating community, and one thing I especially love are the relationships that are built and last a lifetime. You not only meet friends from the entire country but also in various countries around the world, since synchro has such a tight-knit community. To this day, I still remain close friends with my very first set of teammates!
Outside of skating, you can usually still find me spending time with my teammates since we're not only teammates but also classmates and roommates at school. We always have the best time no matter what we're doing, whether it's taking a weekend trip out of Oxford, heading to the movies or even just grabbing dinner. When I'm home, I am a volunteer skating coach for Sports 4 Exceptional Athletes. That is such a rewarding position, knowing that we are truly making a difference in the lives of people who may have never had the chance to skate or play any other sport otherwise. I also love going to the beach in the summer and making scrapbooks of each skating season. :)
This past weekend the Miami collegiate team performed during the intermission of the RedHawks' varsity hockey game. All three teams are working very hard and looking forward to our first competition of the season, the Dr. Porter Synchronized Skating Classic! See you there! :)
Miami Collegiate performs at the hockey game (Photo by Lauren Szandzik, Miami Junior team)
Favorite Skaters: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Favorite Sports Team: San Diego Padres
Top played songs on my iPod: New Taylor Swift Album, Speak Now
Favorite Books: The Harry Potter series
Favorite TV show: Glee, Gilmore Girls
Favorite place I've traveled for skating: Neuchatel, Switzerland
Favorite quotes: "Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." -Ryanosuke Satoro
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -Ralph Waldo Emerson