Two men in a high-level synchro team
Simon and Dominic were athletes of Team Nova Senior in Quebec, Canada. (Credits: Ice Galaxy - 2019)
Dominic Barthe and Simon Proulx Sénécal take a look at Nova Senior, for which they've skated. The two Quebecers come back on what made the success of this Canadian team.
Dominic: If we talk about Nova Senior in general, here are the values conveyed within the team that I believe make this team successful:
- Skaters understand the importance of working hard to get results.
- Skaters are passionate and know that nothing happens by magic.
As an athlete, you have to understand exactly what you are doing and not overlook the power of repetition. We advocate knowledge of the rules and intelligence of the team, and so each skater knows their role exactly. This is how the team usually secures their technical points.
Nova Senior is also a team that shows a lot of sensitivity. Throughout the season, research work is done with the skaters so that the emotions felt and projected are real and consistent for the whole team.
As for the 2018-19 season Nova Senior team, we had a lot of maturity and experience. We had skaters with many years of synchronized skating experience and others who were excellent former athletes in singles or ice dance. Several of these athletes were very creative. Marie-France worked with some of us to choreograph the programs. It happened very naturally.
Simon: To begin with, I would say the team's chemistry. From the beginning of the year, we had big goals for the season. We were already aiming for the World Championships. Our dream was big, and we knew that we would need each other to get there.
Adversity, despite injuries, challenging training sessions and poor performances at the beginning of the season... Our team was able to pick itself up, support each other and perform throughout the season.
The experience: each of our skaters had very different backgrounds, some in ice dance, some in competitive singles and of course, some in synchronized skating. We were able to bring out the best in each other to create our team. It was also our completely different backgrounds that helped us support and help each other through the season.
Simon: Male skaters can give a team a big advantage. We are different physically, so we often attract the eye unintentionally. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage for some but is used well in choreography. It can really give a "wow" effect.
Most of us have done pairs skating or dance, which means we have experience with lifts, spins or pairs elements which can help with the originality of the choreography.
I think there should be more men in synchronized skating. I think it's a pity that we are not more used to see that. Synchro is a team sport, and it is better to be different from male skaters.
It’s about what each skater can bring in particular to the team that gives a certain advantage, either technically or creatively. In the specific case of the 2018-2019 season of Nova Senior, we needed girls to lift to use the special abilities of Simon and me. So we needed some girls who were not too tall and with the courage and willingness to learn acrobatics they had never done before. At that point, the presence of these girls was as essential to the team as the guys who were lifting them up.
Everyone on a team brings something to the team. We must bring out the qualities of each and work on the small weaknesses of everyone.
Dominic: Nova Senior is still a young team that continues to grow. The strengths listed above will undoubtedly remain the pillars of this team. Currently, the team is younger than it was and is ready to move into the next stages of its development. The team will continue to innovate and be creative to provide other great experiences to its skaters and offer other great performances to the public to inspire future generations and make people feel positive emotions.
Simon: Nova Senior continues to innovate each year with its creativity as much through its choice of music and themes for its programs as through its choreography. This is a team that is ready to go for it and change the image of synchronized skating.
Simon: I haven't made up my mind yet about what to do after my career in ice dance. One thing is sure: synchronized skating is a wonderful sport, and I will always keep good memories.
Dominic: I hope to coach synchronized skating for many more years. Currently, I coach the Novice, Junior and Senior teams at Nova. My role within these teams is mainly about skating skills. Each of these teams is coached by a different coaching staff (which can be a strength for the creativity of the programs and the skaters' experience), but they all work closely together throughout the different seasons.