Better together


Photo by Kevin Phelan

Remy Reeb ‘20 (second from the right) and her team members perform the wheel element during their annual 2018 showcase at the San Diego Ice Arena.

Savannah Dupper, Spiritual Life Editor

The bustle of competition permeates the atmosphere as she and her team arrive, their skirts rustling with each step of their skates. The pressure is on. She takes a deep breath of brisk air to calm her nerves, and she steps onto the ice. The music begins as her teammates move in perfect synchronization, performing difficult footwork, flowing across the ice. She moves with them and hopes her feet will not fail.

Remy Reeb ‘20 is no ordinary Cathedral Catholic High School student. A synchronized figure skater, Reeb balances her busy school life while waking up at for morning practices and national competitions.

“Certain elements of synchronized figure skating are very challenging,” Reeb said. “You have to rely on your teammates and be a skilled individual skater to succeed at competitions.”

Synchronized figure skating, a team sport in which 8-20 skaters perform a program together, is characterized by teamwork, speed, intricate formations, and challenging step sequences.

Synchronized ice skating elements include blocks, circles, wheels, lines, intersections, move elements, creative elements, spins, and pairs moves. Synchronized teams in the U.S.compete at 14 different levels, and they begin attending sectional championships when they reach juvenile, intermediate, novice, junior, senior, collegiate, or masters levels.

Reeb, one of the 19 members of Team Del Sol, a San Diego-based synchronized skating team, competes at the intermediate level. Her passion for skating was sparked eight years ago after skating at a friend’s birthday party.

“After that I just fell in love with it, and I begged my mom sign me up for lessons until she finally gave in,” Reeb said.

Now in her seventh season of synchronized skating, Reeb spends about 12 hours every week at the San Diego Ice Arena, practicing off-ice warmups, on-ice warmups, cardio, and element work to keep her prepared for competitions.

“When Remy first joined Team Del Sol, she had to step it up, because our other members had more powerful individual skating skills,” Canadian gold medalist, USFSA gold medalist, and Team Del Sol coach Mrs. Karen Wiesmeier said. “But with her enthusiasm and skill, she’s become a great part of the team.”

Each season, Reeb and her team attend up to eight competitions. Most statewide competitions take place at the Anaheim ICE arena, but the team also competes every year at the Dr. Richard Porter Synchronized Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“Synchronized skating teaches the team lifelong discipline and organizational skills that come together to create a beautiful program at competitions,” Mrs. Wiesmeier said.

Sectionals and the National Synchronized Skating Championship, the most highly anticipated competitions for Team Del Sol, have been held in Michigan, North Dakota, Oregon, Kansas, and Illinois during recent years.

The sectional competition divides synchronized skating teams into Pacific coast, midwest, and east coast regions, with four spots in nationals offered to each region. After teams compete in sectionals, a total of 12 teams from across the U.S. are chosen for nationals.

Reeb has qualified for nationals every year since she began skating.

Scoring in synchronized figure skating competitions is determined by rules established by the International Skating Union (ISU) Judging System, in which part of a team’s final score comes from a technical panel, while the other part comes from a judging panel that evaluates the execution of each element.

“The most nerve racking part of skating for me is actually after we skate,” Reeb said. “Once the program finishes and we take our bows, we are sent to an area off the ice called the Kiss and Cry where you find out your score and your current position in the competition.”

Last season, Reeb and her team placed fourth at nationals, winning the Pewter Medal and becoming national champions for a second consecutive year.

“The teams make it look so easy, but it’s not at all,” Mrs. Wiesmeier said. “They have to be willing to do whatever it takes for our team.”

Currently, Reeb stands as a four-time sectional champion and medalist. She and Team Del Sol had their first practice of the 2018-2019 season on May 1, and they look forward to sectionals and nationals in January and February of 2019, respectively.

“Synchronized figure skating has been a huge part of my life,” Reeb said. “It’s amazing to be able to do a sport I love with people I love.”