#Synchro

Manage the time to keep the passion of synchro alive


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Nova Junior last year at Winterfest. (Credits: Sean McKinnon - 2020)

Train solo, work, study at home, stay away from friends... The pandemic is shaking up the daily lives of many synchro skaters. Discover how Nova Junior from Canada manages the situation.

With complete shutdown for several weeks, the Nova Junior team (CAN) devotes itself exclusively to virtual training. Physics, flexibility or even team building or motivational activities, this team - like many others in the world - shows incredible patience.

"We have no idea of the resumption of activities. We can't wait for the pandemic to be behind us," said Nadine Tougas, head coach of the Nova Junior team since its creation in 2016.


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This season, Nova Junior is made up of 19 skaters from several regions (Laval, Montreal, Montérégie, Estrie). There is also a skater from the United States and another one from Calgary.

The skaters are between 16 and 19 years old, and the majority have several years of experience in synchronized skating. Among the regular coaches, Nova Junior can count on Dominic Barthe (assistant coach - skills, turns, transition steps), Laurence Darveau (physical training and power skating), Joannie Papillon (interpretation), Vera Gauthier (flexibility), and Alex Aubé (physical trainer). This coaching staff is completed by Marie-France Sirois (choreographer), Patricia Roy (nutritionist), and Véronique Richard for mental preparation.


"Objectively, we had a powerful team this year by its maturity and its experience in synchro. 80% are the same skaters as in the 2019-18 team, which allowed us to have great ideas and ambitions", indicates Nadine Tougas.

"Knowing this characteristic, the team was very motivated for a long time despite the pandemic. However, when the cancellations of the qualifications and the Canadian championships were announced, it deeply affected the girls. Since then the motivation is more difficult, as well as commitment. We succeed because the skaters in this team are invested. Competitions are usually the culmination of their efforts so, without events, personal accomplishment is more difficult to create! " she continues.


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Dominic Barthe and Nadine Tougas

According to the coach, time management is one of the most challenging elements for athletes at the moment: "With all the learning and communication platforms that girls have to juggle (studies, work, skating, friends), it's always not easy for them."

What is more complicated is not knowing how long this will all last. "Planning over time is almost impossible and unpredictable. It isn't easy to maintain motivation when you do not know. Given the frequent changes in our government's instructions, we are always in the unknown and uncertainty. It's a shame, but we understand, " continues Nadine Tougas.

This season, the Nova Junior team has kept the structure of its long program on Romeo and Juliet from last season with some modifications. The short program is new this year and was created on a music piece by Vivaldi.

"We were able to finish the two programs in its creation but were not able to work on all the elements due to the sanitary restrictions which did not allow it", explains Nadine Tougas.


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At the end of the year, the team prepared a video to convey compassion, solidarity and hope for synchronized skating. The aim was also to thank the people who donate their time for sport.



For Nadine Tougas, her athletes have great resilience in the face of the current situation. Despite everything, the situation allows them to see "how important the team is and how supportive the international synchronized skating community is".

The short-term goals of Nova Junior skaters are to maintain what they have learned (flexibility, physical condition). They hope to return to the ice to train as a team and do synchronized skating in the medium term. Finally, in the longer term, the coach is considering a return to competitions and obtaining good rankings to reach the World Junior Championships.

What makes Team Nova Junior's skaters unique is that they have "great respect for other teams and each other. Caring is a dominant value in this team. Many different personalities complement each other perfectly."

The coach is also delighted to see that, over time, her athletes have acquired several technical skills, confidence and a deep desire for success.


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In the world of synchronized skating since 1988, and skater until 1995, Nadine Tougas has been coaching teams since 2003. This passion brings her many good things in different spheres of life, such as sporting challenges, surpassing oneself, creativity, friendship, or multiple experiences.

"I hope that we will return to skating within a reasonable time. Despite the situation, I am a positive person, so my dream remains that this magnificent sport will one day be represented at the Olympic Games."


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