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
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.
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