Faces of Synchro
This young woman full of energy used to do 2,228km to skate
Sabrina is a traveller and passionate synchro skater.
Twenty years and already many synchro experiences. Sabrina Snoad is a skater, coach and correspondent for Jura Synchro in New Zealand. Discover her portrait!
She spent four seasons with Team Nova, which is based in Queensland, Australia. Back in New Zealand, she passes on everything she has learned to her club.
My mum met my very first coach through my primary school’s PTA. Kelly was a member of the Canadian synchro team ‘Rhapsody on Ice’, she visited New Zealand on a synchro tour and loved it so much she moved here. She took me under her wing and introduced me to synchro.
Her nickname for me was the ‘Sponge’ because apparently, I absorbed everything she taught me super quickly. Even if I was bribed with chocolate sometimes! I am forever grateful for her suggesting I try synchro.
I started skating after discovering a book in my school library and begging my parents to take me for lessons. Eventually my Grandma took my brother and I to lessons together in 2008.
In 2009 I was a squad skater for my first team the ‘Botany Bladettes’. In 2010 I competed at my first National Championships in Juvenile and Novice. In 2011 I was lucky enough to travel to Australia with the ‘Botany Blades’ representing New Zealand at their National Championships in Novice.
I remember it being an incredible trip, and from there my love for synchro only got bigger. It was also there in Brisbane, that I saw Nova skate for the first time. They blew me away, and I did not know much about synchro at the time, or who they were, let alone the fact I would end up skating for them!
I was incredibly lucky for them to offer me a chance to skate as an international skater in Australia for Nova. I was able to finish the season with the newly re-named Black Ice and compete with Nova at the Australian Nationals the same year.
I moved to Australia and worked full time for half of 2019 to skate with Nova, until returning home just before COVID lockdown in March of 2020.
I consider myself incredibly lucky and am proud of my achievements representing Australia on the three international tours I did with Nova and learnt a great deal from my coaches and teammates.
I have so many amazing synchro memories. There is way too many to pick one!
The first time I represented Australia internationally at Mozart cup was a very special moment, skating in an arena filled with people that love synchro as much as you do is pretty spectacular. Seeing Les Suprêmes in the flesh the first time was pretty magical, I used to watch their ‘Proud Mary’ program on repeat.
Seeing Charlotte, the head coach of Black Ice after they won gold at Australian nationals is a super cute moment and I remember how proud we were of the team.
Otherwise, the dancing circle in the changing room before any skate holds a special place in my heart, the connection and unity you feel to your second family is unreal.
My very first Senior programs will always hold a special place in my heart, because it was such a big jump from Mixed Age and nothing like what I had done before. The first time my mum came to watch me she cried because of the difference she saw in my skating and how happy I was. Our short program was a Beyonce medley and the free was a Charleston Swing theme.
The last free program I did with Nova was ‘Piano Man’ by Billy Joel and it was one of the most emotional programs I have ever skated. It was like everyone knew we were coming to the end of an era, and our skate at Nationals was unlike anything I have ever skated before.
I always like to sit next to the same people, I sat next to Chloe (One of my Aussie sisters) from day one in Australia in 2016, along with Amelia my last season.
Before every competition we did a run-through in our heads with the music, which I found settling. From then on, I like being as energetic as possible, up dancing, singing and ‘hyping’ myself up. The final thing I do before leaving the changing room is have a drink of water.
I did not think I had many rituals, but it seems when forced to think about it, I do!
Too many to choose from! I like lifts because of the achievement you feel when nailing a difficult one in competition. I am a base and much prefer it that way, I am in awe of all the flyers! I also really like lines and pivoting blocks, because they are some of the few elements the entire team is connected. Sometimes it can feel a little disconnected with elements that just show individual skill.
I do however have a least favourite element; I have always had an incredibly strong dislike for wheels. Anyone that knows me will laugh at this.
Synchro has taught me so many life skills as a skater.
Being a positive member of a team is a skill I think is super important. Working with others, not wanting to let them down and learning to communicate are all skills I have learnt through synchro. It has taught me discipline, dedication and commitment skills through training and a want to succeed. It has also taught me how to be confident in myself and my own abilities.
As a coach I have learnt so much about working with different personalities and how a team sport affects everyone in a different way. As a coach the feeling of pride when your team does well is incredible and seeing the difference you can make in young skaters lives by helping their confidence or self-esteem is un-real.
Go for it! Synchro is one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life, and I could not recommend it to anyone more. A team becomes your second family, and they are a group of skaters you will always be able to rely on. Either in skating or outside of the rink.
It can be a bit daunting at first because many people think they have to be really good at skating to learn synchro. But synchro is for all level of skaters.
Train hard, but do not forget why you love synchro in the first place. It can be easy to get lost in the seriousness and dedication it requires to compete internationally. But there is a reason you got there, and it is usually a little person that fell in love with the ice! (As cheesy as that sounds).
I am back at university after a year and a half off. I am studying English via distance so that I can follow my odd coaching hours. I usually coach around 10-12 hours a week. Approximately seven hours of which is synchro coaching.
I still skate by myself, usually three times a week including one lesson with my coach Debbie. She is a dance genius, so I am hoping to sit some dance patterns this year. I also might end up eventually skate with Black ice - you never know! But most of my time is spent at the rink.
Hmmm… Getting the New Zealand team lack ice to Worlds I think is a pretty cool project! We would like to be the first team New Zealand since 2010. They are hoping to debut in 2023 or maybe even 2022, depending on what is happening in the world.
As for the rest of the club, we are working really hard to develop basic skating skills and techniques to create an excellent feeder program into our senior team. While at the same time achieving success in all the other divisions, which will hopefully be Mixed Age, Basic Novice, Adult, Elementary and Beginner. We already have numerous young skaters hoping to make it to Black ice one day which is an awesome environment to have created!
I will likely still be writing some articles for Jura Synchro, which I am very lucky to do. Writing about a sport I love mixes very well with my English degree.
For a long-term future project, I would love to skate somewhere else overseas- if you can call that a project, it will be something I am always working towards. My ultimate goal would be to skate for Les Suprêmes, or otherwise with team New Zealand at the Olympics. Who knows!
We had a total of nearly two months of the ice during our first set of lockdown restrictions, followed by a second lockdown of almost two weeks. It was hard not being able to get on the ice, however the girls had catch ups every day to check on one another. I was also video chatting all my Australian team mates every week.
One of the Black Ice skaters lives with my family, so we were incredibly luck to have each other to keep motivated during our Lockdown. We did the Blogilates workouts from YouTube every day, and Black Ice had stretching or fitness sessions every weekday too. We also did lots of walking and took up a little bit of roller-skating when we missed the ice.
We are incredibly lucky to have had those restrictions put in place, because aside from tracking locations we visit with an app and wearing masks on public transport, we have no community transmissions at present. You could say life in New Zealand is mostly back to normal.
I would like to make mention of mental health during the COVID times, because it is something I struggled with this year. It is super important to look after yourself and reach out if you need it. There are always people willing to help even if you think there are not. I would love to thank my coaches over the years, but specifically Kelly, Debbie and Nat. I would not be the person/skater I am today without them.
Thank you to everyone at OneTeam Movement for all your dedication to our sport and thank you very much for thinking of me for the Faces of Synchro. I feel very lucky to have been included against all of the other skaters you have interviewed!
Today on the OneTeamMVMT's Instagram page, find out Sabrina's take over! And for an update on New Zealand, don't miss our Jura Synchro Express video!