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Skating duo making strides in pairs world

Posted: January 22, 2019

Skating duo making strides in pairs world

Two young figure skaters from East St. Paul are finding their way in a path less skated and have had a break out year in the pairs competition.
Fourteen-year-old skaters Jade Pilat and Emmet Dewar skate individually as members of the East St. Paul Figure Skating Club and both performed well at Skate Canada Manitoba Sectionals earlier this winter in Morden.  Dewar finished second in Juvenile Men's U14 and Pilat was third in Juvenile Women's U14.
The two also skate together in the pairs competition, a rare thing to see in Manitoba, and they set two goals for this year and achieved both.
"The two goals that they had were to qualify for Skate Canada Challenge and to try to earn a spot on the Canada Games team, and they achieved both of those goals, so they're pretty excited about that," said Tanya Pilat, Jade's mom and coach of the pairs team.
Kaleigh Hole, a former national team member who competed in pairs at Junior Worlds, also assists with coaching.
Pairs skaters are rare, in large part due to the fact that so few boys actually skate - Dewar was the only male member of the East St. Paul club until this year when another young boy joined.
"Emmet for a long time was the only boy in East St. Paul skating, we have over 120 members and he was the only boy until this year," Tanya said.
Besides the gender imbalance, it's difficult to practice as a pair when the ice is packed with other skaters.
"It's difficult when you're on a session with 15-20 other skaters for them to do pairs, because you're doing throws ... you're doing lifts, so we've actually rented our own ice twice a week and tried to subsidize it with a couple other skaters coming on," Tanya said.
"But that's difficult."
Tanya said they have two early weekday morning practice sessions - one at 6:30 am and another at 7:30 am - and a 9 pm weekend practice and the dedication is paying off and propelled them to their first goal.
By competing in Skate Canada Summer Series they earned a fourth place ranking and a spot at the Skate Canada Challenge in Edmonton in November.
Though they finished 11th out of 11 pairs at the Challenge, Tanya said they learned so much and immediately began focusing on how they can improve.
"It's challenging but they love it.  They've already got plans and goals for next season.  As soon as they got on the bus on the way back to the hotel from the rink after the long program, they're talking about 'next year we're going to do this, and we're going to have that, and this is the placement I want'," Tanya said.
"Now they've seen the other teams they know where they fit in and what they can do to step it up."
For Jade, the Skate Canada Challenge was a learning experience.
"I treated Skate Canada Challenge like any other competition, but the level of skating there was really good," she said.
"It was exciting to see where we could take our skating with hard work."
They've also been selected for Team Manitoba and will compete at the Canada Winter Games this February in Red Deer, Alberta.
Practices will continue until then, and so will singles competitions.  The Manitoba Open Figure Skating Competition is at the Seven Oaks Arena Feb. 15-17 and both will skate there.
Picture:  Coach Tanya Pilat with Jade Pilat and Emmet Dewar


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