This week, Nottingham synchronized skating team and British Junior Champions, Icicles (pictured), will be competing at the Junior World Synchronized Skating Championships.
Representing your country on the world stage is one of the highest honours in sport, and the Icicles are feeling well prepared going in to the competition.
Team member Chloe Kitching said: “We're feeling really excited, especially because it's in Canada. We love performing our programs, and despite our nerves, we can't wait to skate.
“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves as a team to do well for everyone we're representing, so of course we are nervous, but we're feeling positive and excited for the competition, and we're very motivated.”
Head Coach Esther Bell feels that mental strength will play a key role in how successful the team are in Canada, she said: “Mental strength is hugely important, they are representing their country which is a big responsibility and also competing against teams who have significantly more resources than the Icicles.
“We work hard to stay focused on the job and to ensure we skate the best programs possible against very tough competition.
“As coaches, myself and Lauren do everything to keep the team focused and calm on the day of the competition. I also feel they get their mental strength from knowing they have each other's support.”
Esther added: “I'm feeling incredibly proud of all the girls in the team. It's a massive privilege for us to be doing this and a reflection of how hard they have worked over the season to secure qualification.”
The Icicles have enjoyed a successful skating season and are hoping they can build upon their good performances in Canada, Chloe said: “The best part of our season so far was at Nationals where we achieved a new personal best. Although, we’re really hoping that our time in Canada will top that.
“I would say our biggest strength is trust. As a team we are extremely close and have faith in each other. This allows us to have confidence in the team as a whole.”
Esther and Chloe also shared some advice for younger skaters keen to represent their country. Chloe said: “Always work hard and keep your goals in mind. Never take anything for granted, and enjoy every second you spend on the ice.”
Esther echoed Chloe’s tips, she said: “I would say that anything is possible, it takes a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication. There is no short fix, but the feeling of representing your country is something out of this world and well worth the time and effort.”
The 2017 ISU Junior World Synchronized Skating Championships runs from 10th – 11th March 2017. Full results of the competition will be posted upon publication.
Good luck to the Icicles!