Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sweet Success in Switzerland!

The Crystallettes were very excited to compete at the 2012 Neuchatel Trophy. For the past several years, the Crystallettes have competed in the Prague Cup or French Cup. So, getting to travel to Switzerland was very intriguing. Although this trip was full of challenges and obstacles, we had come to Switzerland on a mission and nothing was going to stand in our way.

We faced adversity before and during the event, but the Crystallettes persevered through illnesses and injuries and were triumphant at the international competition. One skater suffered a broken leg during a practice just 48 hours before we left and was not able to come on the trip with her team. However, we traveled with her picture and she was in every team photo. Another skater fell ill with food poisoning the night before we left, and two more were sick (pneumonia and bronchitis) after arriving in Switzerland. That wasn’t all though. During our official practice for the free skate, another skater got her hand sliced open and had to get 5 stitches after our practice ended. The Crystallettes want to extend a thank you to the Team USA Doctor, Doctor Kruse. We kept him very busy and he kept us on the ice!

Although we had challenges and minor setbacks, the Crystallettes always know how to have a great time. Switzerland was absolutely beautiful! The day we arrived, we went to see many different sights and toured the city shops. We all bought many souvenirs and lots of Swiss chocolate!

After our brief sightseeing tour, it was time to focus. We had many great practices (official and unofficial) and when it came time to do the short program we were more than ready. We were excited to show off our new program. This was only the second competition we would perform it and the first time in our brand new dresses. (The Crystallettes would like to extend a big thank you to Del Arbour for getting these dresses together so quickly and to our parents who helped bead them. The dresses turned out absolutely gorgeous!) We have a very specific warm up routine. We also have several before competition rituals. Once those were done, we were lined up along the wall ready to go. It was thrilling to hear our parents and the other USA teams support us. We ended up skating a wonderful, thrilling, and sassy short program and received good scores for it being an international competition. Our score ended up being 58.86 and it rewarded us with winning the event by 9.5 points! We improved from the London Synchrofest by almost 20 points. It was a remarkable feeling and we were very thankful and humble with the outcome because we knew that we had to do our best in the free skate on Saturday.

Our free skate official was more eventful then we anticipated. We lined up to do our first section and within the first thirty seconds a skater got her hand cut. However, that did not stop us, one of our other skaters jumped in her spot and we continued until the section was over. The skater who was cut was bandaged up and given a blue, surgical glove to wear for the rest of the practice. The rest of our practice was strong and powerful and it proved not only to ourselves, but to everyone there how mentally tough and focused we were. We warmed up later and were ready to go and even though we had a lot of distractions with the sicknesses and injuries, we knew what we had to do in order to stay in the top spot. We did not skate as well as we could have. There were 3 falls in the performance and many great elements too. We performed a solid program. We received a score of 98.80. As we waited in the locker room for the results, Holly began to give us the “you did your best speech” when Shannon called from the United States. She told Holly we won. Casey, our injured skater with the broken leg, watched the live feed and called Shannon. Shannon was at Tri State synchronized skating competition with our other teams. Holly yelled and we all cheered. Then, Chicago Jazz came busting in to our locker room to tell us the results. We were so excited. Apparently, because of our nine and half point lead in the short program it was enough to keep us in the top spot and we won the competition over all! It was one of greatest feelings! We felt like we were on top of the world. It was a very proud moment for the Crystallettes because we had all of the distractions a team could imagine, however, it did not break our focus and make us lose sight of what was important.

Switzerland was a great experience and becoming the 2012 Neuchatel Trophy Senior champions was a very humbling and rewarding experience. With nationals right around the corner, we know that we can’t let up now. We have to work harder and with more intensity because we have set the same goal for nationals that we had for Switzerland. We proved in Switzerland how mentally tough we are and how nothing will stand in the way of achieving our goal. We plan to continue to train hard for nationals. Nationals 2012 here we come! We look forward to seeing all of the teams and wish them good luck!

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