For some synchro teams, this season will be a rushed one


New Zealand training returns to normal. (Credits: Ville Vairinen Photography - 2019)

In New Zealand, all government restrictions have been lifted, which allows teams to return to training. But there is only three months until the national championships...

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As of midnight, Monday the 8th of June, New Zealand removed all of the Covid-19 restrictions that had been in place for 11 weeks. The nation no longer has any community transmissions, the only cases remain from those arriving at the borders that go into isolation.

The few teams that make up New Zealand Synchro all participated in trainings via zoom over the ‘Level 4’ lockdown. As restrictions eased to ‘Level 2,’ teams were allowed to return to the rink to train, assuming social distancing practices were followed. This included no joining up which as everyone knows is the most vital part of the sport. The return to normal however allows for training to be just that, normal. After 11 weeks the NZ teams are able to join up and essentially re-start the on-ice training for the 2020 season.

This season however, will be a rushed one. The national Championships are to be held in Dunedin at the end of September. Giving teams just over three months to prepare. Attending the championships may still be in question for many, as the financial implications of the lockdown settle in and 12 weeks does not seem like a very long time to prepare.  

"We can’t wait"
Cutting Edge, a Mixed Age team from Dunedin is fully prepared for the pressure, feel they are stronger than ever and in an excellent position for the upcoming season.

“Our goals for the shorter season haven’t really changed for us. We hope to make nationals and still have high hopes for our season, we are just more aware that we’re going to have to push harder than ever to see our goals become a reality. Returning to the ice was very exciting and we couldn’t wait to be back. We put in the hard work over lockdown with consistent off ice trainings, putting us into a stronger position than we have ever been before. We can’t wait for the season ahead.“

Cutting Edge, Mixed Age (Credits: Megan Kliegl - 2020)

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One of the Auckland clubs however, feels there is a change in their path ahead. The reigning New Zealand and Australian Mixed Age champions Black Ice have had to re-evaluate their long-term goals.

heir trip to European competitions in January of 2021 being cancelled due to uncertain travel restrictions and the financial implications of Covid.

All seven of the teams in their club, now continue to work on this season’s programs. Along with a new focus of up-skilling and development that has become priority for the squad of over 50 skaters.

AIFSC Synchro Squad (Credits: TJG Sports Photography - 2020)

In another Auckland club, the home of the National Advanced Novice Champions ‘Titanium,’ say their goals are to achieve personal best scores and improve the difficulty of their elements despite the shorter season.

The squad agreed and said they all ‘loved being back on the ice after some time off.’ Their club feels that Zoom was a great way to continue club spirit by keeping in contact, and saw an increase in their physical strength, flexibility and knowledge of the programs.

Allegro Synchro Squad (Credits: Tracy Hipkiss - 2020)

Just like the rest of the world, kiwi synchro skaters were eager to get back on the ice and are lucky enough to do so compared to other parts of the world.

With training back in full swing, only time will tell what the full effect of the lockdown has been on the teams and the season.