By Michael Grace-Dacosta
The Ryerson figure skating team will start the 2015 season with the Winter Invitational Competition on Jan. 29 and 30 at the University of Toronto. They will then travel to Guelph for the OUA provincial championships on Feb. 17 and 18. Last year Ryerson hosted and won the bronze medal at the OUA championships.
Michael Grace-Dacosta asked Tiffany Elliot, the team’s new coach, about the team and the season.
Q: What is your impression of the team after coaching them for a couple months?
A: I’m very impressed by their work ethic on and off the ice. These girls and guys have full-time classes and many of them have part-time jobs. On top of that, they juggle [more than] 10 hours of skating a week. You can really see they love being part of the team and will go the extra mile for their teammates.
Q: What were some things the team needed to improve on when you first took the job?
A: When I first started coaching Ryerson varsity figure skating, the team had been without a coach for over two months. The biggest challenge was creating a set of expectations and getting into a rhythm with everyone. I think we’re mostly there now, but it was a challenge coming into the season so late.
Q: What were some things the team already excelled in?
A: The skaters are really self-motivated. They are all experienced figure skaters, so they can practice well without supervision or constant prodding. Even with no coach for two months, when I started coaching the team most of their routines were set and they were actively progressing toward this season’s goals. I’ve been working hard with everyone to make sure each program meets the proper requirements and add those extra touches.
Q: What are your expectations for this season?
A: As a first time varsity skating coach, I’m hoping my skaters can go out and perform to the best of their abilities on the day of competition.
The atmosphere on the ice is fun, but we’re also fiercely competitive. The team continues to skate because they love it and we’re working together this year to translate that love of skating into success for the team.
Q: How do you and the team feel heading into this year’s winter invitational?
A: I think we feel pretty strong. We’ve been on the ice in January actually five days a week plus we do off-ice practice as well. So I think we’re feeling pretty good going into the competition but you don’t know what [it] is going to be like. It will be interesting to see the impact the new system has on the OUA sport.