Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.COM
It's competition season for the UMD Synchronized Figure Skating team and the group is kicking off it's season with a preview of their program at tonight's UMD Men's hockey game at Amsoil Arena.
Synchronized skating is the fastest growing discipline in US Figure Skating.
The UMD Synchronized skating team only gets three minutes to convince a set of judges they're number one.
"We'll leave bright and early tomorrow morning, well dark and early at 6 am and take off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for our first competition of the season," says team captain Hailey Templin.
The Dr. Porter competition is one of the biggest and most highly regarded synchronized skating competitions in the country.
The skaters aren't taking the challenge lightly.
"They're on the ice at 6 o'clock in the morning three mornings a week, they're here on Sunday nights doing floor workouts. They also meet together as a team on Wednesday nights to do their fitness training," says team coach Alison Wade.
First time viewers of synchronized skating are often surprised by what they see.
"We're individual skaters growing up, that's when you do your jumps and your spins and your footwork. Synchronized skating is all about being able to skate with eight or more girls at a time, doing the same footwork, keeping those counts, and relying on the girls to be where they need to be at those times," adds Templin.
For many skaters the ice becomes a home away from home and their teammates, an extended family.
"It's kind of like a second family; we're all away at college away from our families so the team is like our family at school," says team member Jessica Sengbusch.
The skaters are confident their hard work and camaraderie will shine through on Sunday.
"I'm confident in the team; we've practiced a lot and worked really hard so I think we'll do really well," Sengbusch adds.
But no matter the results...
"These skaters have made a serious commitment to make this team work and they've worked so hard and I'm extremely proud of them," says Wade.
The team has its second competition next weekend in the Twin Cities.
Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware