Feb 3, 2009

LU Radiance Lights Up the Ice

by Emily DeFosse

The new synchronized skating team LU Radiance competed in its first competition on Saturday, Jan. 31. The team competed at the open collegiate level against well-known schools like Princeton, University of Maryland and Boston University.

The team came in eighth place out of ten, beating Bryn Mawr College and Vassar College.

Last year coach Tatiana Gomez and team captain Kristen Riordan made preparations to start a synchronized skating team. This weekend they competed in the U.S. Figure Skating Eastern Regional Championships in Morristown, N.J.

“Tatiana and I were partners in getting (synchronized skating) to be considered a club sport last spring,” Riordan said.

Riordan said she has had five years of experience in synchronized skating, and Gomez has been a figure skater for most of her life.
The team is currently made up of 10 students including Team Captain Riordan, Amy Beck, Stacy Detweiler, Elizabeth Francisco, Amanda Grimes, Jessica Kwaak, Sarah LaRoche, Lindsay Phelps, Jennifer Presson and Kaitlyn Schonta.

“(Synchronized skating) is basically a team of 16 to 20 skaters making formations on the ice like circle, wheel and intersections,” Riordan said. “It is like synchronized swimming but it is on ice. It also incorporates artistry and athletics, like figure skating.”

Any Liberty student, male or female, with basic skating knowledge is encouraged to join the team.

“Basic skating, forward and backward skating, crossovers and three-turns are really the foundational things we need,” Riordan said.
The team practices three times a week. They have on-ice practices two mornings a week from 6:45 to 7:45 and one off-ice practice on Thursday nights from 7 to 10.

Presson has been a member of the team since October when her friend Francisco talked her into giving it a try.

“I have loved figure skating since I was little, and I really enjoy being part of a team, so being on the synchronized skating team has really been an amazing experience for me,” Presson said. “It is one of the few things I would even think about waking up at six in the morning to do.”
Grimes is new to synchronized skating, although she has been singles figure skating for nine years.

“It is so much different skating with a group of girls all at the same time,” Grimes said. “Normally in singles you only have to worry about your own moves and focus on keeping those correct. You not only have to do that in the synchronized team, but you have to make sure that each movement matches all the other people on the team.”

So far, the team has not held tryouts. Riordan said they are hoping to have enough people interested to hold tryouts next year.

Gomez can be contacted at tmgomez@liberty.edu and Riordan can be contacted at kariordan@liberty.edu.

Contact Emily DeFosse at

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