November Skater in Residence – Kelly Britten discusses why she got into synchro and how she is still involved 20 years later.
I started skating synchro because my older sister did it, and of course, I needed to be just like her. She had recently joined the Ice Image Novice team in Burlington. I often sat at the rink and watched her practices with the team and I always remembered thinking “how cool is that?!”
One of the Juvenile team member’s parents told my mom they still needed a skater. My mom, knowing how much I wanted to try synchro, asked the coach of the Juvenile team if I could come on the ice and see if I would be a good fit. The Juvenile coach Alyson agreed to let me give synchro a try however, I never really gave Alyson a chance to say “no” to me. After my “tryout” with the team, I got off the ice and I said “see you tomorrow” and Alyson simply laughed and said “okay.”
I knew I had just found my passion in synchro and nothing could keep me off the ice. Alyson has a special way of inspiring skaters to join synchro and continue within the sport. So much so that almost 20 years later I am still at it on the ice. It was from Alyson that I learned the discipline and commitment required to meet, not only your goals, but the goals of a team. Second of all, in synchronized skating attention to detail is very important, If everyone is doing something slightly different than, it not only looks bad, but is also potentially dangerous. Alyson taught us at a young age to take care in everything we did on and off the ice. Although it wasn’t until many years later that I truly began to appreciate the beauty of a smoothly gliding edge, I always recall the lessons I learned early in my skating career.
Being on NEXXICE has brought my skating to a level that I could have never imagined. My favourite aspect about skating itself is being able to “let go and relax” all while maintaining complete control. Furthermore, having Anne and Shelley as mentors has been one of the greatest opportunities I (and many others who have skated on NEXXICE over the years) have been given. Anne has helped me understand, in a unique way, the run of the blade and how to translate the knowledge into exercises and performances. Having the ability to use what I have learned in exercise and transfer it to a performance is both liberating and exciting.
The combination of her wealth of knowledge and Shelley’s competitive drive, I still come to practice every day wanting to learn more and improve to be the best I can be. I know that there is beauty in simplicity and in today’s modern skating environment reverting back to the basics and appreciating skating for what it is can go along way in the eyes of others.
In recent years, I have started coaching within the NEXXICE club and as a coach, I always use all of the lessons I have learned from these amazing coaches in the hopes that I can inspire the next generation of synchronized skaters. Just because the Olympic dream isn’t something that will be realized during my competitive years, doesn’t mean it won’t happen for the upcoming generation. I hope that I can ignite their drive and their wish to be better every time they step on the ice. I hope they learn to put 100% effort into every minuscule detail in every aspect of their skating but, most of all, I hope they learn to love the freedom a simple gliding edge.