It's finally that time of the year! The time when all of the best talent in Australian skating comes together to compete! The Australian National Figure Skating Championships will be held at the Penrith Ice Palace, Penrith, from November 28-December 4.
Unlike some other countries that hold their National events separately, Australia combines its Synchronised Skating Nationals, Adult Nationals and National Championships into one week-long festival of skating, opening with Synchro on the Saturday and closing with the Senior Men’s and Ladies’ Championship events on the Friday.
If you are planning on attending Nationals, it is best to plan ahead. Hotels in the vicinity of the rink are quite full over the Synchro weekend (due to the necessity of accommodating large teams of skaters) but may open up later in the week. Some of the lower level events can be quite large, so come prepared with warm clothing – you would be surprised at how cold you can get sitting still for four or more warmup groups!
If you want to throw a gift for your favourite Australian skater, please take a few simple precautions. Make sure the gift is highly visible, so that the sweepers don’t miss it. Please don’t throw anything breakable or that has loose pieces that might come off, unless well-wrapped in cellophane, and please don’t throw real flowers (again, unless well-wrapped in cellophane). Also, don’t throw Smarties – I’m sure you can imagine how that went the last time I saw that… And of course, it goes without saying: only throw objects on the ice when the skater is finished their program!
And best of all, please come prepared with your biggest cheering voice. Australian skating is currently in an incredibly exciting phase, and every supporter is welcome!
SATURDAY 28th NOVEMBER
If I had to give this day a name, it would be Super Saturday – the day of Nationals with the most events! Every division of Synchro will have an event on this day, as will most of the Adult events. It will be a day crammed full of excitement and if you are into Synchro and can only come one day, then this day is for you!
And don’t forget the Adult skaters, who prove regularly that age is no barrier to enjoying competition in our great sport.
1:30pm – Mixed Synchronised Free Skate
3:00pm – Basic Synchronised Free Skate
4:15pm – Junior Synchronised Short Program
5:00pm – Novice Synchronised Free Skate
5:45pm – Adult Synchronised Free Skate
6:45pm – Senior Synchronised Short Program
7:45pm – Ladies Gold Free Skate, Men’s Silver Free Skate
8:30pm – Elite Free Skate, Ladies Masters Free Skate
SUNDAY 29th NOVEMBER
In contrast to the busy Super Saturday, this is more like Serene Sunday – but that doesn’t mean there won’t be skating worth watching on this day! The free skates for the Junior and Senior Synchro will take place, with the winner of the Senior event earning the right to be Team Australia at Synchro Worlds. And the Adults are back for one last event.
12:45pm – Junior Synchronised Free Skate
2:45pm – Senior Synchronised Free Skate
11:00am – Ladies Silver Free Skate
MONDAY 30th NOVEMBER
The first day of the Championship event kicks off with a mix of two large groups and several smaller groups, and there’ll be something for everyone with ladies’ events, pattern dances, and men’s events.
If you come to support a skater in an earlier group of the larger events, please be courteous in your movements and, if you can, stay for the other skaters as well – everyone deserves support from the spectators!
1:00pm – Intermediate Ladies’ Free Skate
5:45pm – Primary Men Free Skate/Intermediate Men Free Skate
6:45pm – Novice Ladies’ Short Program
4:15pm – Primary Pattern Dance
5:00pm – Novice Pattern Dance
TUESDAY 1st DECEMBER
Another day with a mix of large and small groups, this time with a mix of ladies, men and pairs. If you have never watched a pairs event before, this is your chance – come and enjoy (or hold your breath!) the death-defying throws, twists and lifts. Just maybe not if you’re afraid of heights…
And remember, it may be going to be 37 degrees outside the rink, but you can still be cold inside it! Dress appropriately.
2:15pm – Primary Ladies’ Free Skate
6:00pm – Novice Men’s Short Program
7:15pm – Novice Ladies’ Free Skate
5:30pm – Junior Pairs Short Program/Senior Pairs Short Program
WEDNESDAY 2nd DECEMBER
It’s going to be another busy day – and on this day all four disciplines will have at least one event. The stakes are higher too from this day forward – most of the skaters competing will be jostling for positions in the international selection pool and the opportunity to represent Australia overseas.
2:30pm – Novice Men’s Free Skate
4:00pm – Junior Ladies’ Short Program (Kailani Craine)
7:45pm – Junior Men’s Short Program (James Min)
1:30pm – Primary Free Dance
1:50pm – Novice Free Dance
7:00pm – Primary Pairs Free Skate/Junior Pairs Free Skate/Senior Pairs Free Skate
THURSDAY 3rd DECEMBER
Hold onto your hats, folks, because this is when the big guns come out to play. Brooklee Han will be itching to regain her title when she goes head to head with Kailani Craine, who will be fully warmed up after competing in the Junior event as well, while Chantelle Kerry will be out to impress on her return from injury. Meanwhile in the men’s, Brendan Kerry will have flown in straight from the NHK Trophy, and three of the Dodds brothers will go head to head once more for the right to attend Four Continents, with stiff competition from Mark Webster and Cameron Hemmert.
2:15pm – Junior Ladies’ Free Skate (Kailani)
5:30pm – Junior Men’s Free Skate (James Min)
6:45pm – Senior Men’s Short Program
7:45pm – Senior Ladies’ Short Program
1:30pm – Senior Short Dance/Junior Short Dance
FRIDAY 4th DECEMBER
Here we are – the grand finale. This last day will ask many questions of the skaters, with the stakes high and the pressure on - who will rise to the challenge? The quality of the Senior programs this season is incredibly high, and if you can only make it to Nationals for just one day – make it this one!
1:00pm – Senior Free Dance/Junior Free Dance
2:00pm – Senior Men’s Free Skate
3:15pm – Senior Ladies’ Free Skate
It will be a crazy, busy, incredible week of skating, and so much fun to watch and enjoy. If you can come, please do, and tell your friends!
See you at Nationals!