Interview

These skaters brought out the best in their team


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Simon (left) and Dominic (right) added a very spectacular touch to Canada's Nova Senior team. (Ice Galaxy / Sean McKinnon)

Dominic Barthe and Simon Proulx Sénécal were two strong athletes skating in the Nova Senior team (Quebec, Canada). This synchro team reached the top in 2019. Having ended their synchro career, let's learn more about these charismatic skaters who have certainly marked the sport.



Who are they?
Dominic Barthe is a 28 years old athlete who lives in the city of Longueuil, on the south shore of Montreal, in Quebec (Canada)."I started skating when I was six because my mom thought learning to skate was an important basic skill for someone who lives in Quebec. I liked it a lot and continued to skate until I was 27 years old."

He started competitive ice dancing at 15 and trained in this skating discipline until 23. After several Canadian championships and a "personal best" ranking of 7th in the country at the Senior level, he decided to stop skating and focus on his coaching career. "I started synchronized skating at that moment," he explained.


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Simon and Dominic, two former Nova Senior skaters.

One year older and also living on the south shore of Montreal, Simon Proulx Sénécal, on his side, fell into the world of synchronized skating from his first steps on the ice in 1999, with a team called the Marquises in St-Hubert.

Then, Simon also focuses on ice dancing. “In 2015, I started to skate with my partner I have today and wanted to represent Armenia on the international stage. I participated in the world championships from 2016 to 2018 before ending my career in ice dancing. After a few weeks, I missed competitive skating a lot, and two of my former ice dance partners, Laurence Darveau and Josyane Cholette, as well as several skaters from my club, were part of the Senior Nova team. So I wanted to do the auditions for the team," he said.

The big interview
So, what do you do for a living?

Simon: Besides skating, I work full time as a real estate project administrator for a company marketing new residential projects. I am also a student in multimedia and web design.

Dominic: I teach competitive ice dancing! I work with my former coaches and mentors, Julien Lalonde and Mylène Girard, at the Isatis Performance Academy Ice dance program (API dance) with national and international junior and senior ice dance teams. I also work with a lot of teams in the Nova synchronized skating club. Being a figure skating coach in ice dance, synchronized skating, and municipal clubs is my full-time job.


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Dominic on the ice with his teammates. (Sean McKinnon)

Synchro skating is now over for you both: why have you ended your careers?

Dominic: The plan was that I would only do it for a year, just for fun. Finally, after the Winterfest competition of my first season, I started to doubt that I was going to do it for just a year. I was having too much fun, and it was a lot cheaper than ice dancing! So I got deeply involved in the year ‘’Shadow and Light’’ (season 2018-2019), which gave me wonderful memories and very precious friendships.

At the end of this season, I decided that my synchro adventure was drawing to a close, and I stopped skating again. I came back in the 2019-20 season to replace a girl who had to leave the team and only skated the free skate that year. The 2020 Canadian Championships marks the end of my synchronized skating career. I want to put energy elsewhere, in my personal development, in my professional life and my choice of hobbies. If we could live in infinite youth (without injuries and pain) and unlimited funding, I would have skated many more years in the Nova Senior team. I will miss the fun I had every day with this team for a long time.

Simon: I don't skate in synchro either. Following the 2018-2019 season, my ice dance partner contacted me to come back together to retry our chance to realize our dream of qualifying for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China.

Incredible Simon! When will you know if you qualify for the 2022 Olympics?

We will participate in the second selection in Germany at the end of September, so hopefully we should qualify by then. The Games are always the goal.


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Nova Senior at the 2019 Worlds in Helsinki. (Ice Galaxy)

What is the best moment of your synchro career for you?

Simon: The best moment for me will be and always will be following our long program at the 2019 Skate Canada National Championships, where we were really proud of our performance, and it is also the first time that Nova Senior has become Canadian champion and was thus able to participate in the World synchronized skating championships.

Dominic: I could easily tell that it was when we won the Canadian Championships, won the Mozart Cup or when I participated at the Synchro Worlds. That would be too easy, so I’ll talk about the day we received our Canadian national team jacket. 



You have to understand that I had always wanted to win this jacket in Ice dancing, and I retired without having the privilege to wear it. Nova Senior was in its second year in the senior category when I joined the team and, therefore, in its first year on the national team. So the whole team got their jacket at the same time, and it arrived on a standard training day, without any warning. It’s still one of the happiest days of my life, a dream come true. 

Canada, and more specifically the province of Quebec, suffered many restrictions last season with the Covid. How have you been living in recent months?

Simon: I would say the last few months have been rather difficult, but they have allowed me to reconnect with my personal goals. No longer being able to train in the same way, we had to find solutions, virtual or outside training in parks. We had to innovate to keep moving forward.

Dominic: Of course, the inability to train has created disappointments and made some of us realize how important skating is to them. Others may have occupied themselves with other activities while waiting for skating to resume and may have discovered new passions.

However, almost all of our athletes have re-registered for this season in one of the categories offered by Nova, and we are all looking forward to getting back on the ice as a team to work towards new goals and to create new memories! Our coaching team at Nova took advantage of this transition period to discuss the club's next goals, to start off again on solid footing and to take the time to prepare for the resumption of synchronized skating properly.

"As a coach, you have to be a model of positivism"
Has the pandemic influenced your journey?

Dominic: I have found it challenging to coach this season. There have been almost no competitions in Ice dancing, and there has been no synchronized skating competition for us this season. The lack of events and the inability to train as we would like has a direct impact on the motivation of the athletes and coaches. As a coach, you have to be a model of positivism, and that can become demanding at times. I still think I did well.

Simon: Yes, my journey has been strewn with obstacles since the start of the pandemic. The cancellation of the 2020 World Championships in Montreal, the closure of rinks and training centers across the province, the cancellation of most competitions for the 2020-2021 season, and not to mention the 2021 Worlds in Stockholm, Sweden, where I was withdrawn from the competition for a false-positive result on a Covid test the day before the short program. This removed all chances for my partner and me to qualify in the first selection for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.


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Simon and Dominic, representing Canada with Nova Senior. (Ice Galaxy - 2019)

To be continued...
Two men in a high-level synchro team: what are/have been the strengths of the Nova Senior team?

Find out the opinion of these two former skaters in a few days on Jura Synchro.