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Take the leap: all skill levels welcome at Western’s figure skating club

Stephanie Dinca, co-president of Western’s figure skating club, warms up during practice on Tuesday, Feb. 25. Some members practice routines for an upcoming competition, and others work on various tricks. // Photo by Ella Banken

By Jana Obune

If you haven’t heard of Western’s Figure Skating Club, you’re not alone.

Three days a week, skaters who are part of the team go to the Bellingham Sportsplex to practice double-waltz jumps, spins and more to improve their skills and prepare for upcoming competitions and showcases.

Compared to other club sports like rowing, rugby and ultimate frisbee, WWU Figure Skating is one of the smaller recreational sport clubs on campus. With the club being so small, not many have heard of it. Skaters like sophomore Sierra Meyer heard about the club through the school’s info fair that’s held at the beginning of every school year. 

At Western, club sport coaches all work on a volunteer basis. “I thought it was interesting that there was no supervisor or like the official coach kind of overseeing the team and the growth of it,” said senior Stephanie Dinca, co-president of the club. Instead they operate with two co-presidents, vice president, the rest of the board and fellow skaters. 

Those that are interested in skating or already are skating still have the option to take lessons from coaches at the Sportsplex ice rink in Bellingham.

“For people who are interested in joining but not sure because they’ve never skated before or skated when they were younger and are out of practice, we accept everyone on the team,” Meyer said. “There’s no tryouts or anything and we make our skate shows flexible to all levels. There’s an option to compete or just skate for fun, learn things like going backward, spinning, and hang out with some cool people.”

“We’re keeping things in line in order to maintain the club. We follow all the procedures for competition and recreation,” Dinca said. “There is a little bit of a difference between them. We both come together when there's shows and we do skate nights [where] everyone collectively and work on routines together. We’ll all wake up sometimes for 6 a.m. practices.”

“After being president for two years, I really love seeing skaters at all levels come together and support each other,” senior co-president Molly McGuire said.

Dinca said that in terms of the differences between competitive and casual skating, the competition side costs more because they need funds for air fare, to rent cars and pay for hotel rooms. When traveling to other states for competitions, they also have to pay for ice time to practice.

On Saturday, Feb. 29, competitive skaters are traveling to Colorado for their last competition of the season. On Friday, March 6, they’re collaborating with Western’s men’s ice hockey team for the first time and hosting a skate night at the Sportsplex. 

“We are also starting to plan their annual spring showcase, it’s our biggest show every year and I’m super excited to be a part of it again,” Meyer said. “I can’t say the theme yet, but we’ll be revealing it soon.”

Every year the club does a few annual showcases with different themes. All the skaters come together to put on this event for the community to come and see the skills they’ve been practicing throughout the year. The club just had their Valentine’s Day showcase a few weeks ago with their upcoming spring one being towards the end of next quarter.

“It’s exciting to see kind of the growth of the team and hopefully beyond even my years that it’ll continue growing,” Dinca said.

Anyone is welcome to join by coming to their practices Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 3:45 p.m at the Sportsplex.

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