Ogopogo event creates excitement

Nadia Snyman has skated on the big South Okanagan Events Center ice before, nevertheless, she’s excited to skate on it again.

Seven-year-old Julia Crowther of the Penticton Glengarry Figure Skating Club practises her routine at McLaren Arena in preparation the 31st Ogopogo Free Skate competition which begins today and runs through Sunday.

Seven-year-old Julia Crowther of the Penticton Glengarry Figure Skating Club practises her routine at McLaren Arena in preparation the 31st Ogopogo Free Skate competition which begins today and runs through Sunday.

Nadia Snyman has skated on the big South Okanagan Events Center ice before, nevertheless, she’s excited to skate on it again.

That’s where the 31st annual Ogopogo Free Skate hits the ice on Friday.

Snyman, who turned 10 on Wednesday, will be among 18 skaters from the Glengarry Figure Skating Club competing in what will be the final event for most of the them. The competition is expected to have 232 skaters from B.C., Alberta and Washington State.

Snyman is also excited because it will be her final competition of the season and her second for placement. In previous years, she would skate to be assessed by judges.

“I want it to be really good,” said Snyman, who was ready to hit the ice at McLaren Arena on the afternoon of her birthday. “I have been working hard. I skate four times a week for an hour-and-a-half.”

Among the things Snyman has been working on are her lutz, junior jump lutz and lutz flip. Skating since she was five, Snyman said she is a little bit nervous about the weekend, but described it as “more of excitement.”

While Snyman and the other Glengarry skaters might have some jitters, coach Alex Sergeev was working hard to ease that.

“I focus more on the first time skaters because I would like to build up confidence,” said Sergeev.

The added focus includes extra ice time including a recent public session that some skaters requested. Last Friday Sergeev put his skaters through a simulation of what the competition environment would be like.

“It’s really important for them to skate and know what it’s like,” he said.

Isabelle Tuckwood is another member of the club who is excited because it’s her debut in the event. She’s not nervous at all about skating in front of people in the SOEC.

“I like having lots of people watch,” said Tuckwood, who has earned three gold ribbons this season.

Another reason Tuckwood is excited to compete in the Ogopogo Free Skate is because her cousin is flying in from Grande Prairie, Alta., which to her means it’s a big competition.

“I want to skate in big competitions,” she said.

Heading into the weekend, Tuckwood has confidence because she’s making her waltz and loop jump and her toe loop. Performing well on the weekend will only help her confidence grow.

The Ogopogo competition is important to the club and it will be added with the presence of relatives, family and friends. Sergeev added that members who have gone to other competitions throughout the year are ready. Those who he feels will really shine are Angelina Veltri, Francesca Amante, Ekaterina Sergeeva and Snyman.

“I wish everyone good luck,” said Sergeev, who hopes that all his members finish with good results.

Skating is on Friday from 1 to 8 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free to attend.