Team Braemar Participates in 2014 Elite Synchronized Skating Camp

Director of Synchronized Skating and Head Coach Vicki Korn and Assistant Coach Jessica Chaffee, along with four Team Braemar athletes–Annelise Kruse, Jenna Fromm, Stephanie Makredes and Neha Reddy–were invited to participate at the 2014 Elite Synchronized Skating Camp for all Team USA teams in Orlando, FL in May 2014.

The Elite camp provided an excellent opportunity for our Team Braemar athletes and coaches to learn new techniques from world-renowned US Figure Skating coaches and competitors. The Elite camp was a great way to help garner a united Team USA in synchronized skating, and USFS was extremely helpful in giving wonderful insight into our sport.

This continued at the 2014 Coaches College and Training Festival at the University of Delaware last week.  The commitment to creativity in the sport, as well as how we will move synchronized skating forward towards inclusion in the 2018 Olympics, was well on display by US Figure skating at the Coaches College. We are very excited for the season, and are already incorporating valuable skills learned at both camps on the ice with Team Braemar this summer.

Snapshots from 2014 Elite Synchronized Skating Camp

From Get It Called, June 3, 2014. Excerpted from article written by Chelsea MacIntosh.

As athletes from every Team USA team from around the country gathered in Orlando, Florida the last weekend of May for the inaugural Elite Synchronized Skating Camp, a new vision was formed for the sport of synchronized skating. The camp had full participation from every Team USA team so it was truly amazing to see all the athletes together. The two day camp was full of knowledge from guest coaches and learning how to push our sport to a higher elite level on and off the ice.

All the athletes were divided into three teams: Team Red, Team White, and Team Blue. Each team participated in the same activities, just on a different schedule. On Saturday, our first event was off ice pair elements with John Coughlin and Alena Lunin. Here we learned the basics of tension and how to create power and speed from that for elements such as death spirals and pair spins. We also were able to try out some pair lifts and the basics of throw jumps. After pairs, we laced up our skates and hit the ice to learn skating skills and edge work form Kelly Morris-Adair. At first, we started with what seemed to be a simple gliding exercise, but we soon found out how controlling your blade from your ankle can be extremely difficult. We learned how to use our ankles to place the blade where we wanted it to go.

After on ice, it was time for the S.T.A.R.S. fitness testing. This program was developed specifically for figure skaters and tests our physical fitness level. Each athlete was tested individually on aspects such as speed, strength, and balance. It was challenging but also rewarding when you were finished and able to see the areas where you needed to improve and the areas that you were strong at. After fitness testing, it was strength and flexibility. Here, Kat Arbour went through the top qualities that elite teams possess and how to create a proper training schedule that would lead to peak performance times. We then went through several different workouts that were created for teams to do together without the need for a gym and machines. We all found them very useful and fun since sometimes getting to a gym can be very difficult for 20 girls at one time.

The camp also included a nutrition session with Connie Evers. Topics such as proteins and carbohydrates were discussed in how to use the right ones at the right time to properly fuel our body to be able to train. Team Blue then hit the ice for Speed and Power lead by Suzy Semanick-Schurman. Knowledge regarding how to generate the most speed from a stop was the main focus. We also went through work with hockey pucks and how to control our free foot actions while skating. After our last activity, all the teams came together for a presentation lead by Dan Kruger and Karin Sherr. We focused on what it means to be a Team USA athlete and set our focus and goals on the upcoming competition season.

Sunday began with a presentation by Peter Zapalo, focusing mainly on proper meals such as post workout called recovery meal and also the optimal meals to eat the day of the competition so performance can be maximized. Edges and turns followed with Kelly Morris-Adair where we learned how to apply push, set, twist and turn to all of our turns. We also learned how to control the turns. We also spent time with Scott Brown working on choreography. We were able to learn different movements and how to adjust them for different types of music. He really urged us to reach and perform out of our comfort zones to be able to come up with new movements. We then hit the ice with John Coughlin and Alena Lunin and put our pairs skills to the test. We tried synching our spins, learned the basics of death spirals on ice and also learned the mechanics behind pair throws and jumps. It was exciting to try new skills. The day ended with Hip Hop lead by Taylor Hoover. We all learned the same dance and then performed it for one another in groups. All the athletes were cheering each other on and it was fun to get into the music and dance.

Overall, the camp was truly an amazing experience. It was inspiring as an athlete to see where this sport can grow and to know that we have the ability to create the change within our own individual teams to enhance Team USA. If I had to sum it up, I would say that this camp was full of hard work and hope for the bright future of this sport. It was the launching pad for the sport of synchronized skating to be on the next level. Also, I am thankful to have met and become friends with such a wonderful group of talented skaters. The whole weekend we were all part of the same team, Team USA. We were not members from our individual teams, we were all teammates on Team USA. I can’t wait to be home with my team and share the knowledge I learned from this camp with all my teammates and implementing the knowledge into our training for a successful season.

Thank you U.S. Figure Skating for hosting this Elite Camp. Thank you also to Leslie Graham, Kelli Evers, Kelly Vogtner and Robin Greenleaf for putting together and organizing this camp. Thank you to all the coaches, guest coaches, volunteers and the RDV sports complex for hosting us. This camp was an amazing opportunity and will lead to a bright future for the sport that I love so much.

From Team Braemar athlete, Jenna Fromm.

I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to attend the first Elite Synchronized Skating Camp!

I liked how the camp focused heavily on individual skills.  I think it is very important to strengthen your individual skills on and off the ice, in addition to working with your team.  Building on our own individual endurance and skating will allow us to increase our speed, power, and flow which was the focus of the camp and the focus of US Figure Skating’s goals for synchronized skating.

This camp was an incredible opportunity; I learned a lot that I am excited to apply to my own individual training, as well as training with the team.  The camp was an amazing experience, and I am looking forward to another amazing season with Team Braemar!

From Team Braemar athlete, Annelise Kruse.

Attending the Elite Synchronized Skating Camp in Orlando, Florida as a skater representing Team Braemar was an unforgettable experience. I learned so many useful skills and information that will help our team to achieve our goals in the coming season. It was so amazing to be under the guidance of elite skating members such as John Coughlin, Alena Lunin, Scott Brown, and the rest of the coaches. It was incredible to see how passionate the USFS coaches were about our sport, and about helping us to be the best that we could be.  They inspire me to work harder, and also to be a good leader.

Working together with the other Team Braemar representatives Jenna, Neha, and Stephanie makes me realize that I am so lucky and blessed to be a teammate with these skaters. The friendship that we have makes me look forward to the coming year and welcoming new teammates and friends.

The weekend was a great learning experience for me and was filled with so many new opportunities; trying out a new skating division, getting to know other athletes from around the country, being able to work with renowned coaches, and just doing more of what I love to do: skating!  I am honored that I was able to be a part of the Elite Camp, and so privileged to be a part of Team Braemar. I am so excited to see what new and amazing things our team will accomplish this year!

From Team Braemar athlete, Stephanie Makredes.

I learned so much valuable information and I am very grateful that I got this amazing opportunity to represent my team at the first ever Synchronized Skating Elite Training Camp. The camp not only had great clinics that the skaters got to participate in and learn from, but also with so many of the best coaches in the United States present.

This camp really showed me that this sport is on the rise and that there are so many people out there that want Synchronized Skating to not only be in the Olympics, but also to grow as a whole. I am so excited to help train the team with all the impressive, yet sometimes difficult, drills that will improve our skating and help us grow as a team.

Also, as a proud skater for Team Braemar, it let me represent my team and got me even more excited for this upcoming season, as well as all the seasons to come!

From Team Braemar athlete, Neha Reddy.

The first ever Team USA Elite Camp was an event that I am fortunate to have experienced because I learned about many important aspects of the discipline that would not necessarily be obviously related to synchronized skating.  These aspects include the physical fitness and ability of each individual skater, because the stronger the individual skater is the better the team will be as a whole.

Being a part of the Elite Camp experience was a one-of-a-kind feeling because it reminded all the athletes that we have a great responsibility in our teams. The camp was also humbling, as it reminded us of the trust that US Figure Skating has bestowed upon us to make our country proud when we compete overseas.  The camp also reminded us that we are each a part of something bigger, and that each team is more than a sum of their parts.

The Elite Camp empowered myself, as well as the three other athlete representatives of Team Braemar, to bring the essential skills learned back to our practices and assist our teammates in putting these skills into action immediately.

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