Off-ice training benefits ice skaters

Back on ice . . . Dunedin Ice Skating Club skaters (from front) Jazelle McCormick (16), Abby Grimaldi (17), Briar Short (14), Rachael Jannink (21), Amelie Henderson (17), Symone Keller (16), Rosie Maley (14), Tallulah Wilson-Brown (15), Katie Sewell (19), Paige Symister (15), Izzy Dalley (16) and Shawna Henderson (11) at the ice rink on Monday. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

Dunedin ice skaters are getting back on the ice “fitter and stronger”.

Skaters returned to training sessions at the Dunedin Ice Stadium with Level 2 rules in place last week.

During the Covid-19 lockdown, the Dunedin Ice Skating Club held online off-ice fitness sessions for its athletes.

Coach Megan Kliegl said club members were brilliant.

As soon as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced New Zealand would be moving into Level 4, they were “quick to act”.

The virtual sessions were set up and skaters from around New Zealand tuned in.

“It just brought the whole community together,” Kliegl said.

“We were able to keep our community quite fit and engaged that entire time.”

It paid off as skaters returned to the ice “fitter and stronger” than they were before the lockdown.

The benefits were not only physical, but mental as well.

It allowed the skaters to stay positive about getting on the ice again, she said.

Kliegl was impressed at the way coaches stood up.

“There were some standout coaches who just did an epic job of being that support in these kids’ lives.”

Some athletes were apprehensive about being off the ice for about 10 weeks, as the club’s first competition was due to be held later this month.

But most of the competitions had been delayed for a few weeks, which meant the competition season was not too badly impacted, Kliegl said.

“It means if we’ve got any athletes that are going overseas reduced ability to qualify for international events.”

For now, skaters were just happy to be back.

During the break the ice stadium had done its maintenance, meaning the skaters got “world-class ice”.