Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bonjour de Rouen! (Hello from Rouen!)

We arrived here safely Tuesday afternoon and have been having tons of fun regardless of the rainy weather. After all of our traveling on Tuesday  we finally got to settle down at the hotel and go out to lunch at a creperie called “St. Romain’s” where we kicked off our week in France by enjoying some of their delicious crepes, my favorite French meal! After lunch we freshened up at the hotel and took a walk to the rink for practice. It was a comfortable 10 degrees C (that’s 50 degrees F) a pleasurable contrast to last year’s French Cup where it was below freezing. Despite our exhaustion from the plane and bus rides, we had a great practice. We had the honor of sharing our practice ice with Team Synchro Energie from France. It was exciting to watch their programs and warm up alongside them. We did a few run throughs and sections of our short and long programs to start getting our heads back in the game. It felt good to stretch out our legs and move around after being cooped up in our plane seats for so long. Feeling satisfied after practice, we grabbed some dinner at “Holy Cow!” a new burger restaurant that we discovered and headed to bed for some much needed rest.
Sightseeing in Rouen

Skyliners with Coach Josh Babb

Wednesday morning was filled with sightseeing and shopping. The pouring rain and gusting wind didn’t stop us from walking all over town. I think we were definitely a sight to see in our clear ponchos (we were a little short of umbrellas!) We visited the Cathedral, a 13th Century cemetery, a park with a playground and swans, as well as the Rouen Art Museum. The museum had many impressive paintings and sculptures that we enjoyed snapping pictures of. The city of Rouen is beautiful and the French Cup is such a big deal here. Advertisements for the event are found all over town and many shopkeepers I spoke to knew about the competition. We saw a big sign for the French Cup at the park we visited. It sounds like the arena will be crowded this weekend. I’m looking forward to it! That night we had a great two hour practice and revisited “Holy Cow!” for dinner.

Skyliners with Team Leaders Dann Krueger and Justin Dillon

At the Parade of Teams

This morning we had our last unofficial practice ice. Practice went smoothly. We have adjusted to the Olympic sized rink and are feeling confident and ready to compete tomorrow and Saturday  This evening was the parade. We got some team pictures with our team leaders, Dann and Justin and with our head coach, Josh. It was amazing to see all the different countries’ waving flags as we walked through the streets of Rouen. People watched the parade from their windows and took pictures. What a thrilling experience! Can’t wait for the competition to officially to begin tomorrow! Good luck to all teams!

 Go USA!!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Farewell, Sweden!

The last two days of our journey have definitely had its ups and downs.  Saturday started with a great official practice; great energy, great presentation, and great execution.  We were feeling confident and felt ready to show the judges what we had in store for them.  After our official practice, we had lunch and rest time.  Following our well-deserved rest time, we began our “primping”.  Still feeling pumped, we jammed to some fun-filled music to get us in the spirit of our sassy, flirty short program.  When our primping finished, we had some off ice to solidify our confidence in our ability to execute a solid program.  Feeling confident in our team and ourselves was certainly the emotion rushing through our bodies as we loaded the bus ready to skate.  As we arrived to the rink, we headed to our warm-up area and began entering into full competition mode.  Before we knew it, warm-up was over and we were in our gorgeous dresses visualizing our perfect program.  Time definitely seemed to fly by because once we opened our eyes, it was as if we were in our beginning position.  Unfortunately, our program was not as strong as we had hoped it would be, but we were still proud of how we pushed through the program and finished strong.  We received our scores and immediately put it behind us.  We were ready to transform into vampires; we were ready to attack. 

Sunday came faster than expected.  As our six o’ clock alarms went off, we knew we had a long day ahead of us, but we were ready for the challenge.  The routine was similar to Saturday’s.  After breakfast, we loaded the bus and headed to our official practice.  Like Saturday, we had a strong official. We were extremely proud of ourselves and were ready to show our fierce and ferocious program.  During the pre-competition hours, we came together as one and fed off each other’s positive energy.  It truly showed how much we trusted each other and how we were going to work together to skate well.  As the bus pulled up to the rink, we took on the persona of vampires and warmed up.  Just like Saturday, before we entered the ice, we called our other coach, Shannon, who was unable to be with us this week.  She assured us that she was confident in our skating and ability to perform our best skate yet.  Sooner than we knew, it was time to take the ice.  We went out there and gave it our all. Unfortunately, we had some mishaps, however, we did not let those accidents bring us down in the least.  We pulled through and ended strong.  After the competition, we returned to the locker room and had a team pep talk.  We knew we had a lot of work to do, but we weren’t going to give up.   Colette came in and said she was incredibly proud of us and impressed by our strength of not giving up when times got tough.  We supported Team USA at the awards ceremony and expressed our congratulations. 

We returned to the hotel, changed our clothes, and then went to a pizza parlor.  There, we got the chance to see our parents, let loose, and have fun on our last night in Sweden.  It was nice to finally be able to relax and just enjoy everyone’s company. Even though we may not have ended up where we wanted to be, we have learned a lot from our time here in Sweden. We have big plans to help us prepare and come back stronger than ever at nationals.   A final congrats to the Synchroettes junior team and Miami University’s senior team on their bronze medal finishes!

GO USA!!!!!

Sharon & Katilyn :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Short Program in Sweden!

Hej alla (Hi Everyone)! Returning to Göteborg, Sweden with Miami Senior after being here in 2010 for the Junior World Challenge Cup is a DREAM come true. The atmosphere is amazing, the people are enthusiastic, and the skating is even better.
Miami Senior Varsity Synchronized Skating Team

After being here for a few days and getting a couple of great practices under our belts, everyone seemed all settled in and ready to compete. This morning we skated our short program official practice after just a short debacle with the bus not picking us from the hotel to take us to the rink. However, once we all finally trickled over and arrived at the rink, it was time to get to work. We skated a solid official practice and felt that we were more than ready to compete that night.
Dream skaters Ashleigh Ostin and Ashley Mulhern getting ready for official practice.

Before we knew it, we were heading back over to the rink and taking a few minutes to warm up. I personally had an amazing time warming up next to Team Boomerang from Sweden and getting to see some of my good friends who skate for them. I make no exaggeration when I say that those girls have a ton of spirit and really know how to make some noise!

Miami skaters Colleen, Katelyn, Alli, and Ingrid are excited to skate.
Stepping on the ice, I think I can speak for my whole team when I say that we got chills when they announced us as “Miami University representing the United Skates of America”, but we quickly snapped right back to reality and took on our fierce character as we skated to our warm-up block. Taking a deep breath, hitting our pose, waiting a few beats, and then finally making our first movement as one, I knew that this was going to be a great skate. Right now we are sitting in 2nd place behind the reigning World Champions, Team Surprise of Sweden, and could not be happier or more ready to compete our long program tomorrow!

Miami Senior Team after a fierce short program competition in Sweden!
Congratulations to all of Team USA on amazing performances today! I am so excited to continue to show the world what USA can do tomorrow!

Det var allt för nu (That’s all for now),
Ashley Mulhern

Update from Göteborg

Hello everyone! I'm Ashley Tomich, a new DREAMer, and a member of the Synchroettes Junior team.  After a flight departing from Newark, NJ on Wednesday night and a quick layover in Copenhagen, Denmark we safely arrived in Göteborg, Sweden thursday morning. We stopped at our beautiful hotel, the Novotel, to drop all of our luggage change so we could head over to the rink to have our first practice. Although our feet felt a bit swollen from flying, we did lots of skills and a few parts of the program to get used to the ice and get our knees bending.  After practice, we went back to the hotel and had an early dinner and were all very happy to get to bed early as we all felt a little bit of the jet lag.

On our way to our first international competition! Fun fact: My teammate Flora and I also sat together on the flight to our first National Championships 7 years ago in Colorado Springs.
Friday, we woke up and got to enjoy a beautiful breakfast at the hotel and were then off again to the rink.  We watched a bit of Miami's practice in the official competition rink and put on our skates in one of the locker rooms there to then walk across the parking lot to the back rink for our practice. This rink was tiny and cold but it didn't stop us from smiling our way through a strong two hour practice, especially while wearing our Team USA jackets.  As this is the international debut for the Synchroettes, it is a very special experience for all of us and we are extremely proud and honored to be competing here while representing our country!

Synchroettes Junior at their unofficial practice with US team leader Colette and team doctor Tina.
Since our hotel is located along the water, we got a chance to take the ferry into the city of Göteborg.  It was nice to walk around and do some shopping.  We took the ferry back to the hotel in time for dinner, off-ice to watch some video, and then the draw.  The draw was for the junior and senior teams competing and was held in one of the conference rooms here at the hotel. They had tins of swedish candy with a number written on the bottom for the captains of each team to pick to decide the skating order for Saturday. We will be skating third in the short program event. Now we're off to bed as we have an early wake up call tomorrow morning for the official practice, but I know I, and the rest of my team, are excited for the competition to begin and to cheer on our fellow US teams, Miami and Crystallettes!
Three of the five DREAM skaters in Sweden: Ashleigh O., Ashley T., and Ashley M.

Stay tuned for more updates to come from other DREAM skaters here in Sweden. Go USA!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Hallå från Sverige!

Hello from Sweden! 

The Crystallettes have finally made it to Gothenburg, Sweden! After nine hours of traveling, we were thrilled to claim our luggage and fully focus on what we came to do. However, when we were getting our bags from the baggage claim, we noticed that one of our skaters was missing her suitcase with her skates inside of them. The missing skates were left in Detroit and caused quite a panic because of the upcoming practices scheduled for the next few days. Thankfully, one of the skaters on the Synchroettes was generous enough to lend our skater her skates. Before we took the ice, we had the opportunity to meet our team leader, Colette. She came with us to our first practice and gave us some great feedback about both of our programs. It was nice to finally get our legs moving and our feet back on the ice. Although we only missed one of our usual practices, it felt like we hadn’t been on the ice for a week.  After a great practice, we enjoyed a nice team dinner with our coaches and manager. Shortly after, bedtime arrived and we got our clothes ready for tomorrow’s practice and hit the sack.

With alarms ringing at eight in the morning, we knew today was even more important than yesterday. As exhausted as we were, we knew that we had to stay focused and keep our heads in the game. In today’s two-hour practice, it was imperative that we showed two solid run-throughs. With Colette by our coaches’ sides, they continued to support us and provided beneficial information to help us achieve our goal. We were happy to know that we had another solid practice under our belt. Following our practice, we took a team walk to the Hard Rock Cafe. Eating a full meal after a long day of hard work hit the spot.  Once we finished dinner, it was time to shop! We visited many clothing stores, tourist venues, and chocolate shops. It was a very fun-filled day.

To finish the day off right, we had a very productive off ice session. While we were having off ice, two of our team members went over to participate in the draw. USA was the first country to pick their place in the lineup and we had the honor of picking first. Funny as it may seem, we drew number one!  

Best wishes to all of the teams competing at the Leon Lurje Trophy & thank you again to the Synchroettes for the skates and the personalized gifts. We love them! :) 

Katilyn & Sharon 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hej from Sweden!

Greetings from Gothenburg!

After two flights, almost a full day without much sleep, and some lost luggage... Miami Senior has arrived in Sweden!

Ready for take off! 
We hopped off the plane in Gothenburg, and after trying to track down some of our teammates' luggage that didn't make it to Sweden quite yet, we headed to our hotel with only a few minutes to get ourselves ready for our first practice.

Challenge accepted. We had a great practice, the ice is fabulous, and we're feeling solid and excited going into the competition this weekend. Next on the agenda... a good night's sleep!

More updates to come. Go USA!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kicking Off 2013 with Miami Skating

Hello again and happy new year from Sennett and Linnea! 

This past weekend teams from across the country crowded into Fraser, Michigan for the Junior World Qualifier and Mid-America competitions. In anticipation for these competitions Miami University's Varsity teams had been vigorously preparing over the two weeks prior to the completion from 2-7 hours day per day.  Everyone put in 100% effort and were very excited to be back together again; despite the fact that our winter breaks were cut two weeks short. We went into the weekend feeling excited and ready to show off our hard work.

On Friday the junior team competed the short program. The night before we all gathered in one of the hotel rooms in order to go through and talk about each part of our program to get us mentally prepared for the next day. We talked through element by element discussing things to think about; from key words or phrases, to our favorite parts of the program. The next day, we had a lot of energy and excitement going into the event. We really tired to focus on getting into character the second we left the locker room so we could be as animated as possible in our performance. We got off the ice still feeling the rush from the program and were even more excited to take the ice the next day. 

Saturday was the free skate event. As we were getting ready for competition, doing our hair and makeup we used the extra time we had to finish the music video we had started making over break.  Following living out our Hollywood dreams; we all gathered with our coaches and staff to review the video of our official practice.  We discussed key points of the program and got ourselves mentally prepared for competition.  We then loaded the bus to the rink and preformed our usual competition rituals on the way, including dancing and singing to our favorite songs.  As soon as we got off the bus we were in competition mode and headed to the warm up area.  We completed our competition warm up and ran through our programs and felt ready to take the ice.  We loved every second of our performance and felt very "glamorous" throughout the whole program! We were very happy with our skate and proud that all of our hard work over break had paid off. 

On Saturday night after the junior long competition was finished, the collegiate official practice session took place.  The five Miami junior/collegiate cross skaters gathered our things, had a quick dinner and headed to the warm up area to join our teammates.    We had a good official practice in which we skated a full run through then only a few sections the second time around.  Our official practice ice ended at 11:00pm on Saturday night, so we headed right back to our hotel to get a good nights sleep before the next day’s competition.  Sunday morning we woke up, packed our things and the collegiate team got into character for our “rocker chick” program.  With poofs in our hair and the usual amounts of competition makeup on we loaded the bus to head over to the rink.  Before leaving the bus we had a short team meeting.  We put our game faces on and prepared to enter the competition arena.  Before doing so however we all got out of our seats and let out our extra energy by rocking the bus!  Entering the locker room we were all very excited.  We got ourselves ready to skate and once we were set to go we let out the excess nerves by singing the Miami fight song.  Collegiate skated very well and we were very happy with the results!  We had a ton of fun skating the program and really embodied the theme of the program! 

We all cannot wait to continue our progress and work hard heading into our next competition which for the Collegiate and Junior teams will be the Midwestern/pacific sectional championships in Kalamazoo Michigan, and for the Senior team their international appointment in Goteborg, Sweden!

Best of luck to all the teams competing next weekend!

Love and Honor,

Linnea and Sennett

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cup of Berlin - Part 2

Greetings once again from the Cup of Berlin, 

The competition has now ended and the teams are all preparing to head home. California Gold had a very successful week in Germany and grew in leaps and bounds as a team. We finished in 8th place, moving up one placement from our short program, and the Hockettes junior team took 6th overall! 

CalGold and Hockette skaters proudly represent the US of A at opening ceremonies.
Neither of our skates this weekend were perfectly clean, but as our team leader Jeanette Davey pointed out, there will be very few times in your life when you will have that perfect skate. At competition, most teams make some kind of error, and she said that what matters to her, is how a team reacts and recovers. After the fall in our long program, the team rose to the occasion,  not allowing the mistake to shake us. A renewed sense of calm came over us as we decided silently and unanimously to finish stronger than we had started. 

CalGold waits for our scores after the long program 

This lesson about recovery not only helped us to move up a spot in placement at Cup of Berlin, it also helped to prepare my team for the next few weeks of training before U.S Synchronized Skating Championships. The team is ready to head back to Los Angeles to hone the technical calls that alluded us this weekend and improve our components. However, we are not heading back before we take a little more time to see Berlin! We can't stop ourselves from practicing, even as we travel the city!

CalGold does our lifts in front of the German Reichstag (parliament building) 

You'll be hearing from me again soon! 


Friday, January 18, 2013

World Junior Team Selection Recap from Skyliners!

January has arrived and our competitive season is now in full swing! This weekend marked our first event of 2013, the World Junior Team Selection competition in Fraser, Michigan. We flew in Wednesday evening and I must say it was quite warm for all the times I have visited Michigan in the winter: a surprising high of 50 degrees! It was hard to believe it was January. On Thursday our team was able to relax a little in the morning before our practice at the University of Michigan. At the rink we got our feet back under us after traveling Wednesday and had a great practice. I definitely felt confident and excited to compete after we skated. Afterward we headed to Olive Garden for a team dinner to celebrate our teammate’s Sweet 16. We all enjoyed the unlimited salad and breadsticks and back at the hotel we had birthday cookies. To finish the day, we did a little team bonding by watching some funny youtube videos with our coaches and team moms. Everyone got in a lot of good laughs before heading to bed.

Friday night we competed our short. Before skating, we loosened up by singing our ritual songs, “Defying Gravity” and “The Call”, dancing to “Sexy and I Know It”, and my personal favorite, singing “God Bless the USA” to get in the spirit. Our short program performance felt amazing. I always feel so elegant in our lavender dresses and our inspiring music reminds me why I love to skate. We skated clean and earned our highest score. The kiss and cry was exhilarating as we jumped, hugged and screamed after hearing the scores. We were incredibly proud of our performance and pumped for the free skate.

Saturday we got up very early for a quick unofficial practice. Because the rink was so cold we decided to wear pants under our dresses. For official practice that morning, we decided we liked the new look and made a fashion statement by wearing the pants with dresses. Official practice went well and we got to relax at the hotel before competing. That night we were excited and ready to compete; we enjoyed singing songs and doing the YMCA before stepping on the ice. Although we did not have our ideal long program skate and had a few technical mistakes, it is always fun to perform our West Side Story program. After anxiously awaiting results in the locker room, we were overjoyed when we were told to put our skates on to greet our fellow Junior World Team members on the ice. Congratulations to the Lexettes on their great performances! After posing for pictures, we were given our worlds jackets, which was an awesome surprise. We are honored to be representing the USA in Finland with the Lexettes in March. As of now we are working hard and getting excited for the French Cup which is just 2 weeks away!

Well that’s all to report for now, until next time!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cup of Berlin: Part 1

Hallo von Berlin!! 

California Gold spent our second day in Berlin practicing and touring and are very excited to compete our short program tomorrow. Hockettes junior are here with us, which is particularly exciting for me as I skated with the Hockettes for ten years before I came to Cal Gold. I love seeing my old coaches and former teammates and our teams have been getting along beautifully. 

CalGold and Hockettes meet up in the hotel

CalGold Captains Brittany and Emmy on a Berlin street corner 

We got a chance to see some of historical Berlin today, including the Brandenburg gates. We also spent time purchasing fine German chocolate and learning about life in East Berlin behind the iron curtain. 

California Gold in front of one of Berlin's beautiful cathedrals

California Gold's pregnant coaches in front of the Brandenburg Gate

Looking forward to the next few days. Go Team USA! 

Mit Lieber, 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy New Year and "all that jazz"!

Wasn’t it just yesterday that we started the new school year and the skating season began? And now here we are in January, with two competitions already under our belt for the 2012-2013 season.

After a successful weekend for Miami at the Dr. Porter Classic, with a first place finish for the senior team, we headed back to school to wind down the semester and finish strong on our final exams. Mid-December, the Miami skaters headed to their hometowns across the country for a relaxing 2-week break from school. This was definitely much needed, as balancing 18 credits with skating season in full swing is not an easy task. I enjoyed spending time in Michigan with my family, catching up with friends, and of course skating some sessions back at my old stomping grounds at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube.

After the New Year, my teammates and I returned to campus fired up to begin training for our next event. We had a lot of fun enjoying an empty campus to ourselves, with no classes…or lines at Starbucks! But most of our days were spent inside the rink, energized through long practices due to the excitement in seeing and feeling our programs grow.

This past weekend, all three Miami teams competed at the Mid-America Classic and World Junior Team Selection Competition in Fraser, MI. We were extremely amped to show off our polished programs to everyone. The senior team finished second in the short program and edged out the competition by a slim margin to win the long program on Sunday. We were also able to cheer on our Junior and Collegiate teammates and see some awesome skating throughout the weekend. It was a definitely a golden weekend for Miami. Our coaches even let us watch our favorite movie, Pitch Perfect, on the bus ride home for a second time that trip (we had already watched it on the trip up). I think they enjoyed it, too ;)

Back in the beautiful Oxford, OH, the new semester has begun and campus is once again bustling. It won’t be long though until we head out to our next event in Gothenburg, Sweden at the end of the month. Until then…we’re back to the grind! Go Miami!

Love and Honor,


Friday, January 11, 2013

Latest Scoop on the Crystallettes

The Crystallettes have had quite an eventful summer and fall! With school starting back up and the competition season kicking into gear, we have not had much time for anything except school, skating, and sleep. Over the summer, the Crystallettes trained hard on skating skills, matching movements, and breaking down each element. In September, the choreographing began. This year, we skate to “That Man” for our short program and we are taking on the roles of vampires in the free skate. Both programs are very different from one another, however, incredible to skate. It truly allows us to show off our dual personalities and have fun with the elements and creativity invested into each program. Personally, the long program is my favorite. Our coaches did a wonderful job choreographing this long program. There is always something going on in the program and it seems like the creativity never ends. The program is intense and exciting and is very theatrical. I love getting into the character of this program with my team. During our video sessions we watch our practices and see how truly amazing our programs are and the potential they have to be incredible.

The Kalamazoo Kick Off Competition was successful for the Crystallettes. We may not have skated our short program to the best of our ability, but we came out with the gold and were proud of what we accomplished. We knew we were going to have to clean up our programs quickly because the Porter Competition was right around the corner. As a coach of the Crystallette Preliminary and Intermediate team, I had quite a successful weekend. My preliminary team had a good skate with one minor fall and ended up placing third. Since Porter, my co-coach and myself have made changes to this program to challenge our skaters and improve our program to try to do better at the next competition. The intermediate team I coach skated much better at Dr. Porter than they did at the Kalamazoo Kick Off and ended up placing sixth. My co-coach and I are very proud of the improvements that they have made and the amount of hard work and dedication our skaters have put in. They improved their score by eight points at Porter. Since Porter, my co-coach and I have made necessary changes to the program based off of the feedback we received from the judges and technical panel. We are hoping to continue this positive climb to the top.

As a skater on the Crystallettes senior team, we had great official practices at Porter. We skated a solid short program with a few minor mistakes and ended up in second place. As soon as we found out we were in second place after the short program, we put it in the back of our minds to focus on our long program. This would be our first time competing the long program and we wanted our program to be intense and have an effect on the audience. We attacked the long program with everything we had; we had nothing to lose. We ended up with silver in the long program event and placed second place overall. Our coaches went and spoke with the judges and technical specialists concerning our programs to see what we can do to make our programs better. Since Porter, we have made many changes to both programs and are working very hard to keep improving our scores at the Frasier Competition in a couple of weeks.

Besides our hard work and dedication to our programs, the Crystallettes have also had many team outings to encourage team unity. We had a skater from Finland come practice with us over the summer and fall to see if she would be interested in skating with us the next season. Her name was Reeta, and she was a joy to have around. She was very sweet, caring, and had a very positive attitude at our practices, even if she did not understand a drill we were working on. It was fun to listen to her talk because she had the cutest accent! We had fun discussing the differences in our languages in between our on ice and off ice sessions. It was so sad to see her go just a few weeks ago. We got her a cake and wished her the best before she went back home for Christmas. We miss her dearly and hope to see her next year!

The Crystallettes celebrated Christmas by having a secret Santa gift exchange. We bought our secret skater three gifts and gave them two of their gifts throughout the week. Then, at the end of the week, we had our Christmas party where we had a wonderful feast and exchanged our last gift while guessing who our secret Santa was. It was truly amusing and it is always fun to have team gatherings because it brings us closer together and allows us to open up to one another and strengthen our relationships. Our coaches also got us a very memorable gift; they got all of us team USA mittens and t-shirts for the 2013 Worlds Championships in Boston. Needless to say, we were all very surprised and thrilled about these gifts. We have already made both items a part of our travel outfits for the upcoming competitions!

Our team has worked extremely hard over the past few weeks and is going to continue to push even harder with Frasier right around the corner. We are excited to show off the changes that we have made to our programs and eager to cheer on our other teams as well. Good luck to all of the teams competing at Fraser! The Crystallettes will see you there!