Friday, December 21, 2012

Catching up with the Haydenettes

This fall the Haydenettes have been very busy with school, practices, exhibitions, and the first competitions of the season. 

Our first event this Fall was An Evening with Champions at Harvard University in September.  The Haydenettes have been performing in this show for many years.  The event supports Cancer research by donating all of its proceeds to the Jimmy Fund. We skated our short program.  Although it was very early in the season, our skate was clean and we got great feedback from members of the audience afterward.  One of the most fun parts of this event was getting to warm up with many amazing skaters including Kimmie Meissner, Emily Hughes, Jeremy Abbott, and Ryan Bradley!

October was filled with lots and lots of practicing and team bonding.  The Haydenettes and Lexettes participated in the Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Boston.  Although it was a rainy day, the walk was successful.  Afterward, both teams went out to brunch together.  It was a fun way for us to spend time with the Lexettes.  Later in the month we had been scheduled to perform at the opening of Citi Pond and Bryant Park but were unable to do so because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  We were all upset by the devastation the storm caused. 

In November we had our annual Haydenettes Thanksgiving at our teammates’ house.  There was an amazing spread of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and all the other regular Thanksgiving foods, followed by divine desserts.  We celebrated like a true family.  After we finished eating, we watched Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights as a team because it is the theme of our long program this season.  The next weekend we competed in our first competition of the season, the Boston Synchro Classic.  This was a great event for us because we received a lot of feedback from the Judges and Technical Panel on our programs.  With help from them, Saga decided it would be best for us to make a change to our short program music.  Finally, at the end of the month we were able to perform at the Bryant Park Christmas Tree Lighting.  There is something very special about skating in the heart of all the tall buildings and bright lights, just a few blocks away from Broadway.  It is especially fun for the Haydenettes that have never been to New York City before. 

December has been jam-packed with skating and studying for finals! We competed at the Cape Cod Classic earlier this month.  This was the debut of our new short program themed “Addicted to the Thrill.”  It is still very new to us, but we had a good skate.  It was very fun to perform.  We are all excited about this new music! During the long program competition we had a bobble in one of the group lifts, but other than that it was a great skate.  Many of the Haydenettes who grew up on the east coast have been competing at this competition since they were very young, so we all enjoy going and seeing the little skaters that we used to be.  It is humbling and reminds us how far we have come.  We kicked off our break from skating with the Hayden Holiday Show at our home rink. 

 Now, finals are finally over and we are enjoying our Holiday break.  While we are all home relaxing with family and friends, Saga is in Finland, getting married!!! This is a very special time in her life, and we are lucky to be able to experience it with her.  Saga has witnessed most of us experience great changes in our lives including graduating from high school, moving away from home, attending college, or starting to work.  Now, we get to watch a huge milestone in her life.  We can not wait to get back on the ice with her next week to practice, and most importantly, hear about the wedding!!!!

Happy Holidays!!!

Tessa and Audrey  

Monday, November 26, 2012

California Gold Promotes Skating in LA

It has been a crazy season for California Gold senior so far this year, and we are very excited to shift into competition mode after a few months of training. The last few weeks have been particularly crazy as we have unveiled our programs to the skating public and shown off skating to the public at large. As synchronized figure skaters, we run into the problem of trying to explain to non-skaters what it is that we do, so as a team, Cal Gold jumps on any opportunity to promote our sport.

Several Cal Gold skaters at The Queen Mary 

Around this time of year, southern Californians are desperate for a taste of winter. There are several outdoor rinks in the area that are huge attractions for people looking for the winter experience. As an LA area team, my teammates and I have been asked repeatedly to help promote these rinks, getting a little media attention for our organization and our sport, by performing. 

Emmy and Emiko with KTLA News

 In the past month, we have skated at openings for three outdoor rinks in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Long Beach. Our team has also been featured on local news (KTLA Channel 5) as well as Univision (the number one Spanish speaking channel).  My teammate Juliana represented the team beautifully being interviewed in Spanish, and Teammate Emiko and myself spoke with KTLA.

Juliana tells Univision about Cal Gold

Its awesome to get out into the world were synchro is less well known and see people exposed to it for the first time. Kids are always so excited to come talk with us and ecstatic when we offer to zoom them around the rink. Doing all these extra events (that require a different program to fit the tiny rinks) takes a lot of extra work. In the last weeks we have skated out in the rain and outside in the dark before the sun was up, but is worth it. Anything we can do to share our love of Synchro :)  

Cal Gold skaters practice in the rain in Santa Monica

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How many more days until Christmas?!

Hey Synchro Skaters!!

     I know a lot of you are in school right now and it seems like a long ways away until Thanksgiving and Winter Break, but I just wanted to say how skating on a team and going to school has given me so much drive and fulfillment in my life. 
     At times, you may think it isn’t worth it to give up your time to practice, or your weekends to competitions.  I truly value my education and often felt that I should stay home and study or sleep just because I felt lazy.  But I’m really glad that I didn’t give into those feelings.  The funny thing is that my grades in school were higher when I was skating on my team as opposed to when I wasn’t!  By knowing that I had to get my homework and studying done because I had practice the next morning, I was forced to know the material and work ahead so that I wouldn't get behind.  And as far as applying for college, I was never able to start a club at my school or be in ASB, but I had my team and my vast experience with working with people and being a leader within, even when I wasn’t a team captain. 
     Skating synchro is a privilege and a learning experience.  It teaches you that you need to work hard for your place, you need to work together to reach a goal, and that you are important to the team regardless of where you stand in line. Synchro has so many life lessons to offer!

I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!


P.S. I had a mustache for Halloween!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DREAMing in Dearborn - Midwest DREAM Camp

Being a DREAM skater has been rewarding in so many ways, but one of my favorite aspects of the program is participating in the DREAM camps during the summer. This year at the DREAM summer camp I was fortunate enough to meet so many young skaters from throughout the Midwest who came to participate in the wonderful programs both on and off the ice.  The camp started off with an opening presentation that included the introduction of DREAM skaters and faculty.  The experience and knowledge of the faculty members was overwhelming, and this opening gave the skaters some background on their coaches for the day.

The day was filled with classes such as edges, elements, musical interpretation, zumba, and yoga.  The skaters learned a lot of new drills and were also able to let loose and explore the musical part of skating.  These athletes were determined to get the most out of the day.  I had fun helping them learn on the ice and dancing alongside them in zumba class. 

The day ended with a group photo and a pizza party!  The room was fully decorated in beach theme, and the skaters participated in the hula hooping and limbo contests.  I made lots of new friends, and I know the skaters did too!  This was a great opportunity for young athletes to make connections outside of their home clubs. 

I grew up skating in the Midwest, so I was thrilled to take a trip back and participate in this camp.  Thank you to the Crystallettes and Dearborn Figure Skating for hosting the event!  It was a productive and entertaining day.  

Also:  Thanks to DREAM alumni Sarah Arnold for the photos!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer with the Haydenettes

The Haydenettes have had a very busy summer! We started preparing for the 2012-2013 season way back in May.  We had a few practices with just the team, then our Elite Camp over Memorial Day weekend.  Elite Camp is very special because all the Haydenettes participate and get to skate next to members of other teams.  The focuses of this camp are basic skating and teamwork.  It is a great way for new members of the Haydenettes to get to know the skating style, and we all bond over our sore bodies!

In June we slowed down, having lots of free time at the beginning of the month.  Those of us who live outside of Boston got to go home and see our families! It was a good break.  At the end of June we had practices where we still worked on basic skating and coming together as a team. During the last week of June all the Haydenettes worked as counselors at the Hayden Synchro Summer Experience.  We all have an awesome time working at this camp.  It is exhausting but very fulfilling for us to get to skate with younger children and hopefully inspire them to keep skating until they are as old as us.  I was Team Leader for Team Italy.  I had a lot of fun trying to teach the little skaters how to count off in Italian, and how to wink.  We had a game going all week to see who could wink at Saga and the other Haydenettes the most.  I definitely enjoyed being silly with them! After that, Haydenettes got the entire month of July off. I went home and stayed with my family and babysat during the day.  Most of my teammates went home to visit with their families or got summer jobs. 

Now, in August, we are back to a regular practice schedule.  The first weekend of the month we all spent together in Waterville Valley, NH working on choreography in our new programs!  We worked hard on the ice together and with Saga to figure out the rule changes and how to best showcase our skills in the new programs.  Outside of the rink we did fun activities such as canoeing on the lake, swimming in the pools, going in the hot tubs, and watching the Olympics!  We also had an awesome surprise Bridal Shower for Saga where we played fun games such as “Make a Wedding Dress out of Toilet Paper!”  It was a great weekend; we all had a lot of fun.
Finally, the Haydenettes participated in our first exhibition of the season at the Tribute to Life ice show in Newington, Connecticut.  We performed an exhibition program to “Canned Heat” which all twenty of us skated in.  It was a great first performance for the team! 

 We are all looking forward to the start of the regular season and school year! - Audrey

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Coaches College/Training Festival Experience

Last week, July 25th-29th, the DREAM team traveled to Delaware to participate in the Coaches College/Training Festival. Last year at this festival, I participated in the event as a coach. However, this year I had the opportunity to be a DREAMer! It was a fun, educational, and rewarding experience.

The first two days of our trip were spent at the Coaches’ College.  We were fortunate enough to be allowed to go to the classes that discussed the new rules and clarifications. This synchronized skating season, I will be skating on the Crystallette senior team as well as being a coach of the Crystallette intermediate and preliminary team.  These classes were extremely helpful in distinguishing exactly what the judges and callers are looking for as a coach and a skater. As a DREAM skater, I was also afforded the privilege of demonstrating for the on ice sessions. I learned a lot of helpful drills that I will bring back and share with my teams. The sessions at Training Festival included:   turns and edges, elements, musical interpretation, freestyle moves and much more.  Focusing on the main elements and step sequences in the program was also helpful because the rules have a tendency to be clarified throughout the season and working/actively doing the elements gives me a better idea of how to explain and complete the element so that each maneuver gets called.

The Coaches College ended Friday afternoon and the Athlete Welcome was scheduled for Friday evening. At the Athlete Welcome, I was asked to give a speech on one of the challenges that I have overcome in my synchronized skating career. After some thinking, I chose to talk about having my mother as a coach. After writing my speech and practicing for hours, I was nervous but felt ready to speak in front of the athletes, parents, and coaches. I believe that the reason I was so nervous  was because I wanted to make a good impression, represent the Crystallettes with dignity and make my mom proud. In my speech, I mainly focused on how having my mom as a coach, was hard because she has always held me to a very high expectations. However, I knew she pushed me so hard because she wanted me to be the best I could be and I would not want it any other way. I love having her as my coach and enjoy making my skating memories right along side of her. Remember, if a coach, mentor or parent are tough on you, it is probably because they see something special in you and want you to succeed.  Sennet and Tessa spoke as well and it was interesting to hear their challenges along with how they overcame them. After a successful and inviting Athlete Welcome, it was time for bed because there was still a long weekend of skating ahead.

 Saturday and Sunday were two of my favorite days out of the whole trip because I got to skate with the different age/level groups in the festival. I thoroughly enjoyed working and demonstrating for the different coaches and all of the athletes attending the festival. The skaters were eager to learn and had great personalities. It was evident that all of the athletes are truly dedicated to this sport. I found that through all of my demonstrating and working with the other coaches that I acquired a ton of helpful knowledge and drills! It was very exciting to see how different all of the top coaches in the country were.  I learned many new drills that they teach their teams. I was happy that I received the opportunity to work with all of those different individuals and I am eager to share all that I have learned with my teammates and the teams I coach.

Another part of the training festival that I liked was choreographing the programs with the coaches. I had the opportunity to help choreograph the Footloose number with Josh Babb and Shannon Peterson (my mom) as well as the Across the Universe number with my mom and Brooke Sloan. Along with helping choreograph those two numbers, the DREAM team had a number to Dream Girls! After two short 50 minute practices, our DREAM program came together and was fun to perform at the exhibition. I particularly enjoyed watching the other groups perform their programs! It was clear that the athletes were having fun performing and skating with their “Festival teammates”. I am very thankful for all of the new friendships that I have made and all the information that I acquired over the weekend.  I cannot wait to see everyone at competitions this year.  Training Festival was a great experience and I am very excited to see what experiences next year’s event will bring!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Bittersweet Ending- Haydenettes

After our great short performance, we were more than prepared to take charge in our Lady Gaga long program.

Our official practice was in the early afternoon on Friday. We came into the arena confident and ready to put our long program on the World stage. Our practice was solid, but not perfect. We had small mistakes that were simple to fix in preparation for the evening. Shortly after our practice we had video review. Saga reminded us of the important technical details we had to focus on come that evening. We were prepared, and we could not wait to put it all out on the ice.

Preparing for this performance was bittersweet. As we did our hair and makeup, we became excited to skate, but we also remembered that this was our last performance as a team. This team is very close, and we all love our Lady Gaga program. We were ready to make this the best program we have ever skated.

As we put on our Lady Gaga dresses, we put on our “poker faces” and got ready to become “little monsters.” As we prepared to enter the ice, Saga reminded us to remain calm. She knew that we were capable. We all knew that this program had the potential to amaze. We just had to do exactly what we did at every practice.

We stepped out on the ice and were overwhelmed with the support from the audience. Special thanks to our parents and the Crystallettes for the USA cheers! This last boost of confidence is exactly what we needed as we took our opening pose.

We put out an extremely strong program and had the time ofour lives. One the best parts about this sport is the moment when the program ends. In this moment, the 16 of us are united and unstoppable. Pride overwhelms our hearts. This is exactly how we felt after our long program skate. We could not have been more proud of what we had accomplished, no matter the score outcome.

Our performance led us to a silver medal in long, and a bronze medal overall. We were ecstatic with our skates and the result. We send our congratulations to Team Sweden 1 and Team Canada 1! The skating at this championship was outstanding, and we were honored to be part of it.

After awards, our parents threw us a party and we were able to celebrate with them. As many of us live away from home, this time was very special. Saga presented us with our small medal, and spoke to our success. She then said her farewell, as she was headed home to Finland the next morning. We were happy to see her take a break and spend time with her family, as well.

This experience was one of the most humbling of our careers. Standing next to 60 of the world’s best athletes at awards made us realize how truly special this sport and this team is. The Haydenettes are thankful of all that have supported us, not only within our Hayden organization, but also around the country. This has been an outstanding season for all. The 2012-2013 season is fast approaching, and we are excited to get back to work!

Tessa and Audrey 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Worlds With the Crystallettes

The Crystallettes had a fabulous time at the World Championships in Sweden! When we first arrived there, we got settled into our beautiful hotel, the Gothia Towers. A few hours after arriving, we had our first practice.  After a long plane ride we all felt like noodles but that did not stop us from having a very focused and productive practice. It felt so good to get our feet back on the ice again and get our muscles moving after hours of traveling. We knew that, being at the World Championships, every practice was important and a vital performance. So, we strived to do our best at every practice. We had five practices during the days leading up to competition.  Our practices were all strong and focused. We spent most of our time practicing but did have two hours to go shopping and have the true Sweden experience! The food was great and the city is absolutely beautiful. 

The draw ceremony was held Thursday night and consisted of solo performances, a group performance, a mini-concert by singer Amy Diamond and the most adorable beginner synchro team. After the performances, all of the skaters, competing in the competition, laced up their skates and assembled single file behind their flag on the ice. This was where the captains from each team were called over to draw a chip out of the bag. When it was our turn to draw, co-captain Meghan Quigley and I skated over to determine when we would perform for the short program. We were so nervous! I slowly stuck my hand inside the bag and pulled out number 13! We skate in the middle of the second group performing Friday night.  We were happy with our draw and excited that competition was finally here! The next morning we had an amazing official practice. It definitely gave us a boost of confidence and we could not have been more ready to compete.  We planned to go out on the ice and give it our all. We had come way too far to hold anything back and had overcome so many different obstacles.

We competed thirteenth in the short program. We skated the best short program performance of our season and were proud of how we performed out on the world ice. We ended up in 11th place with places 9th through 11th separated by less then a point. Once we were done skating, we got the opportunity to watch the top six teams in the world skate. 

After standing in 11th place after the short program, the Crystallettes got the opportunity to watch some of the top teams in the world. They were beautiful and amazing to watch! There was so much energy in the arena when they skated. That was our goal tomorrow when we performed our sassy long program – get the crowd clapping. We had the crowd going with us in short and we were eager to perform our upbeat long program. We were sure that our music and program would excite the audience, especially with our two new ending pieces. After a solid and confident official practice, we rested up, and got ready to compete. We performed a very intense and energetic free skate that definitely had the crowd clapping along. This long program was by far my favorite free skate that I have ever performed. Overall, it was a great skate, we had one minor mistake but it didn’t matter because we were so incredibly proud of our season as a whole. We ended up finishing in 11th place (just over a point away from 10th) and we were happy with how we skated for both programs and couldn’t have asked for anything more. We are 11th in the world and second in our nation, not too shabby! 

After the competition ended and the awards ceremony was over, we returned back to the hotel and got ready for the competitors party. With help from a few stylish parents, we purchased the most adorable outfits for the competitor’s party.  After we got all dolled up and took thousands of pictures in our cute outfits, we walked down to the party. We had a nice dinner and got the chance to interact with all of the teams that participated in the competition. Then a DJ came to the party and it turned into a nightclub, everyone was dancing and having a great time with each other. We got to take pictures with many of the teams and it was a very memorable experience.

The Crystallettes had a great time at the 2012 World Championships! It was an experience that will be cherished forever. We wanted to congratulate all of the teams in the competition, especially  the Haydenettes for their bronze medal. It was nice to represent USA together and we hope to have the opportunity again next year in Boston!

Friday, April 13, 2012

World Championships Part 1 - Haydenettes

Our time in Sweden so far has been amazing. Since our arrival on Tuesday, we have had many strong practices and have enjoyed seeing the sights of Gothenburg. Wednesday and Thursday we had 2 practices, and Thursday night we had the draw. The opening ceremony was awesome, including performances from the top Swedish singles competitors and a small intro team. All athletes stood on the ice behind our flags for the ceremony. It was a great experience, and we got to meet many people from many teams.

This morning we woke up, had breakfast, and took a short walk around the city with Saga. We had time for a quick video review before lunch and the Short Program official practice. Our practice was very strong. We skated a clean run-through and did good sections. Everyone was calm and focused. Saga was happy with the practice.

After skating, we rested and had snacks before it was time to get ready to compete. We went through our normal competition routine and got excited to represent our country as Team USA1. When we got to the rink the energy was great and there were tons of people. During warm up we focused on each other and stayed in our own bubble. We were more than ready to compete.

Upon entering the arena, we looked up and saw a lot of excited fans ready for an intense competition. And what an intense competition it was!

Getting on the ice, we noticed not only American flags waving, but Finnish ones as well. It is a unique experience having two nations supporting you coming into a World Championship. It makes us realize how fortunate we are to have Saga as a coach. She is a phenomenal person.

Although we technically did not get all the calls we were going for, the program felt amazing. We are proud of our skate. Tomorrow is an entirely new day and we are ready to put everything we have into our Lady Gaga program. We intend to go Gaga for Saga and leave everything on the ice.

Tessa & Audrey