The Speed Skating Performance Programme (SSPP) and the Medal Support Plan (MSP) travelled out to Montreal, Canada to compete as part of the Canadian International invitational competition. Sixty men and sixty women from Canada, USA, Ireland, Netherlands and Great Britain made up the competitive field. The reasoning for attending this competition was to give our developing high-performance skaters an opportunity to further improve their racing skills against a very strong field of skaters. It was also used as an opportunity to introduce Elise back into competition after a difficult summer following her surgery and injury.
The racing was very exciting throughout the weekend, capped off by a fantastic last day of competition. The first two days were dominated by Elise as she skated two gold medals in the 1500m and 500m on the women’s side. Holly, Isabelle, and Talya skated performed really well with a few personal bests. The men skated very well with the majority of them making the top half of the field for the first two distances as well. Both relay teams, who are relatively inexperienced and have never raced together before, qualified for the A finals. Unfortunately, both teams had a fall in the finals and ended placed 4th, but it made for some very exciting racing to end off the second day of racing. Before the falls, both teams were in medal positions and were skating positively.
The final day of racing was even more exciting, three girls and three boys qualified through the first round of the 1000m’s to start the day, which elevated our team atmosphere even more. As our skaters progressed through the rounds the quality of racing progressed more and more. To cap off a successful weekend of learning and development, we’ve had another three people achieve the qualifying standards for World Cups. Those skaters are Holly Hoyland with a massive three second personal best (1:35.4), Isabelle Roberts (1:36.6), and Talya Kaye (1:37.0). That now results in a total of four SSPP women and three SSPP men being eligible for World Cups along with the Medal Support Plan athletes.
Niall Treacy also skated a very impressive 1:25.312 in his 1000m final to smash the old British Junior Record held by Jack Whelbourne. To cap off a very successful weekend, Elise Christie came away with an overall 1st place in the women’s category despite not finishing the final distance.
From a coaching perspective I could not be happier. The goal for the competition was to get increased exposure to higher level racing and all of our athletes rose to the occasion. The level of racing progressed through each day and all of our athletes are going home being better racers. Onwards and upwards for our programme! Next stop, Italy for Star Class 4.
Coaches – Richard Shoebridge, Seung-Jae Lee
Elise Christie, Charlotte Hayward, Holly Hoyland, Talya Kaye, Isabelle Roberts
Jonathan Moody, Kyle Ross-Waddell, Ethan Treacy, Niall Treacy