Breaking the Ice: The Colgate Figure Skating Team

Breaking the Ice: The Colgate Figure Skating Team

The Colgate Figure Skating Team offers a place for Colgate students to practice their ice skating skills during the winter season. Membership is open to all students regardless of skating experience. The team also competes throughout the skating season, which lasts from October to February. Members participate in both individual figure skating and synchronized skating competitions.

Sophomore Laine Girolamo, leader of the Synchronized Skating Team, shared why she became involved with the team.

“I came to Colgate and immediately wanted to join, as I’ve been skating since first grade,” Girolamo explained. “I’ve been skating for a very long time, even when applying to college I needed that community because that was essentially my main friend group and my main activity group for years.”

The team provides opportunities for the younger residents of the Hamilton community to become skillful on the ice through their Learn to Skate program. 

Sophomore Naomi Kraemer, Learn to Skate program director and events coordinator, explained the concept of Learn to Skate and how it has benefited the community. The program works with around 30 to 50 children from Hamilton and surrounding areas.

“They range in expertise and skillwe have a lot of newcomers who have never skated before. […] The goal of that program is to make a community and a lot of parents have definitely shown interest in the past, and have been doing this for many years,” Kraemer said. “This program has been here for a while, the parents love it, the kids love it, so we hope to continue this well into our future.”

First-year Angelina Li shared her experience coaching a younger Hamilton resident during Learn to Skate and how it has impacted her.

“I somehow saw through her myself when I first got on the ice, with the same clumsiness and same excitement,” Li said. “Learn to Skate has somehow brought me back to my youth when I just started.” 

Kraemer explained how the team is promoting accessibility.

“One of my goals for the club is promoting more accessibility to newer skaters,” Kraemer said. “I’ve never competed in figure skating but it’s something that I have picked up on my own and […] I’ve really learned to enjoy it on my own and so I want that to be available for other people who have maybe never skated in their life or have only skated a few times and just want to get better at that and get more skills.”

The team also holds ice skating events for the entire community, in addition to open skates on Sundays where kids can receive coaching from experienced skaters. The team hosted events like Halloween Skate and Hannukah Skate last fall. 

“It’s a very fascinating thing to see so many people, whether they know how to skate or not, just be on the ice and having a good time together,” Li said.

Girolamo explained the benefits that figure skating has brought to her college experience at Colgate.

“It’s interesting coming to college and realizing how much of your community and your heart and your relaxation comes from the sport that you spent so much time doing,” Girolamo said. “It’s just a relaxing sort of moment where you have all your classes and all these responsibilities and just to go [to the rink where it’s] calm and quiet and have your friends there [is] just so necessary when you’ve been doing it your whole life.”

Li elaborated on how joining the team has eased her transition to both college and a new culture.

“I’ve met a lot of new people, I got to know different cultures and it just gave me a faster way to get into this community,” Li said. “I come from another country and I thought at first it might be a little hard to get involved in this whole other culture and somehow figure skating made that so much easier.” 

Kraemer shared next steps for members of the wider community who want to become more experienced in ice skating.

“If you’re interested in skating, definitely take advantage of the open skates [on Sundays],” Kraemer said. “If you’re looking to go even further, come talk to uswe’re all really nice people and we all just want to see everyone have fun on the ice.”