Marshalls U.S. Figure Skating Challenge

 A reader sets us straight on skating in Florida.

As a member of the Tampa Bay Skating Club (I am also the person who  maintains the club web site and am also a Gold level test judge), I read  with interest the recent article written by Alexandra Stevens about the
 Marshalls competition held here recently. The mention of our club in the  article was much appreciated.

However, there were some inaccuracies in the article and I wanted to set the  record straight.

"Florida does not have a long history of ice skating."

Actually, it does, just not a competitive skating history. The Skating Club  of Florida, located in South Florida, has been a club for 45 years, making  it the oldest figure skating club in Florida.  I started back skating as an  adult when a rink that was built in Orlando in the early 1980's. At that  time, there were only about 4 clubs in Florida and maybe only 2-3 USFSA  competitions in the state. Things were more heavily ISI oriented.  There  also weren't very many judges in the state either. I traveled to Atlanta to   take dance tests.

For whatever reason, skating did finally start to grow in Florida and more  rinks were built. In 1991, the now defunct Orlando FSC hosted USFSA  Governing Council meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, of
which  I was a part of making the local arrangements. The very next year, that same  club hosted the 1992 US Nationals at what was then called the Orlando Arena.  We also started holding a figure skating competition as part of the annual  Florida Sunshine State Games.

In the 90's, when David & Rita Lowery taught at the Tampa Bay Skating Club, we had some pairs compete at US Nationals, with one couple, Brandi Seabol &  Cheyne Coppage, winning Novice Pairs in 1996 in San Jose, and Tiffany  Skfikas & Josiah Modes, placing 4th in Junior Pairs at the 1998 Nationals in  Philadelphia.

Today, according to the US Figure Skating directory, there are 14 active  clubs in Florida. We are still making our mark in pairs, thanks to Kerry  Leitch, who coaches them in Ellenton, including the 2004 Junior Pairs  Champions Shantel Jordan & Jeremy Barett.

We have had several younger skaters qualify for Junior Nationals as well in  the last couple of years. This year we can proudly claim that the winner of  the Intermediate Ladies title, Sherry Barnes, lives and trains in Kissimmee  (south of Orlando).

It was nice you mentioned a couple of the qualifying competitions Tampa Bay  SC has hosted, but you missed a couple - we hosted the US Synchronized  Skating Championships in spring of 1999 and we will be once again hosting  this season's 2006 South Atlantic Regional Championships.

"In addition they currently use two associate rinks: the Brandon Sports  Forum on the other side of town and the nearby TBSA/Countryside Mall in  Clearwater.."

This is incorrect. The Countryside Mall is actually located only 10 minutes  from the Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar. The rink in Brandon is east  of Tampa, some 45 minutes (or more in bad traffic!) from the Countryside  area.

Thank you for taking note of these corrections.


 Jeanette Matlock

Return to title page