Smooth sailing: Salmon Arm speed skaters Devyn Hughes, Shan Chhokar, Doern Dawson, Kamloops, and Jack Verdurmen make their way around the short track during a heat at the Salmon Arm Icebreakers Ice Jam held Saturday at the Shaw Centre.

Smooth sailing: Salmon Arm speed skaters Devyn Hughes, Shan Chhokar, Doern Dawson, Kamloops, and Jack Verdurmen make their way around the short track during a heat at the Salmon Arm Icebreakers Ice Jam held Saturday at the Shaw Centre.

Skaters fly to personal bests

Salmon Arm speed skaters were on fire at the Shaw Centre this past weekend.

  • Jan. 14, 2014 11:00 a.m.

Salmon Arm speed skaters were on fire at the Shaw Centre this past weekend.

The local club hosted its first sanctioned interclub Short Track Speed Skating competition on Saturday where six Salmon Arm skaters posted personal bests in not just one distance, but almost all distances raced. In some cases, skaters trimmed anywhere from seven to 12 seconds off on their longer distance contests.

Short track speed skating is an exciting, fast-paced event, which pits skaters against both the clock and each other, as up to six skaters can race on the track at the same time.

Aila Norlin, Jack Verdurmen and Shan Chhokar were all faster than their last competition in Kelowna in December. Brian Ocheko notched two personal best times in the 100- and 200-metre sprints.

In his heats, Verdurmen notched four first -places finishes and a fourth, while Chhokar scored four seconds and one third. Ocheko posted one second-place and three third-place finishes, despite a disappointing fall, where he fought back to the finish.

Norlin earned three second-place finishes, one third and one fourth in her division heats.

Making their racing debut on the circuit were Devyn Hughes and Marissa Dollack, who shattered their previous personal bests from club practices.

In her heats, Dollack scored two first places, one third place and two fourth-place finishes, while Hughes earned a second, three thirds and a fourth-place finish.

Masters skater Alex Seal made an attempt to qualify for an elite meet in Kamloops later this month, but fell short by 3.41 seconds on his 500-metre time.

Seal and Alyssa Skaalid, 18, an Ice Breakers skater who also skates for Team BC, used this event as experience to maintain peak performance for their next races.

“It was a great day, all the skaters had a great time,” commented Anna Skaalid, who coaches the youth skaters.

Skaters are seeded prior to their races so they compete against competitors of similar skill. The skaters each raced a variety of distances from the 100-m sprint, to the endurance 600-m, 1,200-m and, for the adults, a 3,000-metre contest.

The meet was also attended by skaters from the Kamloops Long Blades, Kamloops River City Racers, Kelowna Speed Skating Club and Vernon Vortex.

The Salmon Arm Ice Breakers offer a “Learn to Speed Skate” program where they supply the speed skates. Interested skaters should email info@salmonarmspeedskating.com for more information.

 

Salmon Arm Observer