Figure skaters bounce back to win OUA gold

Mid-year disappointment overcome with results at Guelph

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western's figure skater champions with trophy

Courtesy of Western Athletics

FOOL ME ONCE SHAME ON ME, FOOL ME TWICE SHAME ON YOU. Western's figure skaters persevered over the break to pull out their second consecutive Ontario University Athletics banner.

How many sports do you know that combine dance, flexibility, balance and razor-sharp blades? There’s just one " the artistic sport of figure skating.

Many students probably aren’t aware there is a figure skating team at Western. They also probably aren’t aware that Western’s women’s figure skating team is, for the second consecutive year, the best in Ontario.

“I think that we had a really good season overall,” co-captain Lindsay Basinger said.

“We had a really strong finish at the first competition. The second competition we started off well, but we usually struggle with the second competition and then we came back with a win so overall [the season] was really good.”

“It was very exciting because we worked hard this year to achieve that goal of winning again,” veteran skater Danielle Brick added.

With over half the women being new to the team, the Mustangs still pulled off an impressive season, and earned a whopping 89 points at the Ontario University Athletics championships with five first-place and four second-place finishes.

“At the beginning of the year we thought it would be a rebuilding year because we had a lot of rookies, but as the year progressed we saw how well we were doing and I thought it was definitely within reach,” Basinger said.

“I know that a lot of us, and especially the girls who were on the team last year, really wanted to win, and we were there to win,” Brick said.

The competition, which was hosted by the runner-up Guelph Gryphons, was held Feb. 20-21. The Gryphons earned 75 points and the third place Queen’s Golden Gaels finishing with a mere 56 points.

“I think overall this year was a good team with all of our rookies and we all came together really well and by the time OUAs came around, we all supported each other,” Brick said.

The team opened its season with a bang, placing second at the McGill Open at the end of November. But improvement was needed after the team finished in fifth place at the OUA Winter Invitational in January. After rigorous training over the past month, it pulled itself back up to the top.

“I have this philosophy that you know what you can do, you practise hard and when you go on the ice you know what you’re capable of, so just kind of do it. Relax and do what you can do. Our coach says ‘Do what you got to do, do what makes you feel good,’” Basinger explained.

“It’s totally a good saying to live by.”

For members of the team, fun is more important than anything else.

“We organize social events to get spirit going. I think overall this year our team bonded really well and that helped a lot to achieve our goals,” Basinger said.

“It’s really good and you make a lot of friends by skating for varsity and spending a lot of time together. It helps a lot for the team how supportive we are of each other,” Brick said.

Team cohesion is necessary, especially when it comes to the synchronized events, of which there are many in the sport.

“I think everyone is supportive, at every competition we’re always cheering for one another and encouraging in positive ways,” Basinger said.

“You have to pick out the positive things about someone’s skating to keep them going.”

Brick obtained two first-place wins, in Sr. Similar Pairs and Pairs Fours " both of which she hoped to win at OUAs.

“I just tell myself that it’s for fun and I’ve worked, and we’ve all worked at it, so I just have to go out there and do what I can and try not to be nervous,” she said. “Every event competes in their category and earns so many points. Our goal was just to do the best we could in each event.”

Overall, Basinger was highly pleased with the season’s results.

“Since this is my last year, I was very happy to win. And this year there’s not so many skaters graduating so they have a really strong foundation so if they build on this year’s team they can definitely do well again.”

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