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Inverness ice skating club prepares for top European competition

By Will Clark

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Picture: James Mackenzie
Picture: James Mackenzie

ICE skaters from across the Highlands are looking to produce a big team effort and make a real impact on the international stage next month.

Highland Synchronized Ice Skating Teams will be sending a squad to the Mixed Age Trophy being held in Montpellier in France where they will take on teams from across Europe in April.

Their participation is being seen a major step forward for the club, based at the Inverness Ice Centre, who are already impressing at competitions throughout the United Kingdom.

Club members Picture: James Mackenzie
Club members Picture: James Mackenzie

The sport of synchronized skating is an ice skating sport where skaters perform together as a team rather than singles or pairs.

They move as a flowing unit at high speed over the ice, while performing elements and footwork in routines.

Picture: James Mackenzie
Picture: James Mackenzie

Coach Amanda Clinton says their team are looking forward to competing at a top European competition and hopes that there will be more opportunities to compete at international tournaments in the future.

While it will be the squad’s first time competing on the international stage, they are looking forward to showing what they can do.

She said: “We are taking our mixed-age team to France in April.

“Everyone in that team hasn’t competed internationally so that is a first for them.

“This will be a nice thing for them to be involved with.

“Looking forward, we will be looking to take some teams to competitions in The Netherlands and Poland.”

Picture: James Mackenzie
Picture: James Mackenzie

Highland Synchronized Ice Skating Teams has been running and competing in competitions for 23 years.

The club, which has members from across the Highlands aged between six and over 50, travel across the United Kingdom to compete in a number of events through the season.

Among the major competitions they take part in annually are the Steel City Trophy in Sheffield, Trophy D’Ecosse in Dumfries and Britannia Cup in Nottingham.

The club have impressed in competitions this season, with their biggest success coming at the Trophy D’Ecosse in Dumfries which saw them win two Scottish championships in their respective age groups.

Coaches Amanda Clinton and Eilish Rennie.
Coaches Amanda Clinton and Eilish Rennie.

Clinton has been involved with the club since it was first established in 2001, before becoming a coach four years later, following in her mother’s footsteps.

She says their successes in competitions this year shows both that the club are moving in the right direction, and the quality of skaters they have in their squad.

She said: “We have had successes in a number of categories over the years.

“We have competed nationally and internationally, we have started to rebuild now and the club has been growing since Covid. We are aiming to take our teams into international competition over the next few years.

“We are happy with our results this year, Trophy D’Ecosse was definitely our highlight with the adults coming away with the most entertaining performance and team medal.

“All our teams got new personal bests at the competition so we couldn’t ask for much more.”

Picture: James Mackenzie
Picture: James Mackenzie

Their success is even more impressive given the limited amount of time they have to train, which is usually three hours on a Friday night. The Inverness Ice Centre is also scheduled to close for three months which will result in the club having to train in Elgin and Aviemore during that period to get ice time.

Clinton says they have a determined squad which loves the sport and will continue to work hard as they look to achieve further success in the future.

“We have members from as far afield as Ross-shire, Aviemore, Forres and Nairn in our squad,” said Clinton.

“The goal for synchronized skating as a whole is to get it into the Olympics.

“We are looking to promote the sport as much as possible and looking to get every person we can to get involved.

“Individual skating is also important for their personal development and competing in synchronized skating.

“A lot of our kids are interested in competing in singles and it is good for the nerves to help to go on to skate for the teams.”

Clinton continued: “Synchronized skating definitely builds confidence and creates lifelong friendships.

“There is something unique about synchronized skating, I am in love with the sport. Getting to go all over the world and compete with different teams is a fantastic opportunity.

“It is amazing to have this opportunity to give the sport to the kids.

“This year, we had a new group of kids join and we have seen them bloom. They are just improving incredibly, because they don’t want to let the team down.

“They are trying harder every time and it drives them on.”

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